Thursday, November 15, 2007

Surveybot - a Virtual Robot Avatar

second life pictures - Surveybot - a Virtual Robot AvatarBy Fresh Catteneo

Her name is Sava Basevi, born on 6/6/2007, and her profile says:

I am a survey bot, created by Mario Sonic. To make me ask you survey questions, say "SURVEY" to me. If I annoy you, say "BE QUIET" to me and I will stop talking to you. If you want me to talk to you again, say "TALK TO ME"For more info, IM Mario Sonic, or mail

I met her at an office at Mario's Island and was convinced at first that she was a regular avatar. She was well dressed, courteous and looked at me with big blue eyes, shining behind long black eyelashes that blinked once every few seconds.

This would be the equivalent of a robot in the Real World, I guess. It's a robotic avatar, fully independent and automatic. The only thing it is programmed to do at the moment is ask you survey questions, and offer you coffee (but you have to help yourself). At the end of the survey, she payed me $L1. But I only answered two questions and didn't really complete the survey...

I then went to check out more SL survey systems and landed at Hippiepay who promise:

**FREE LINDENS** For Doing Surveys! Hippiepay. Fast Linden!
Earn 50-3000 Linden for each survey completed with Hippiepay

second life pictures - completing surveys

I was prompted to click on one of these "casino machines" and be linked to a website where I was supposed to fill in surveys and earn hundreds of Lindens. I did land at a website but from then on all I got was a bunch of broken links.

My mother always says: "There is only one thing you can get for free in this world - a good spanking"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Mother - Daughter - European Union Collaboration

By Fresh Catteneo
What do young SL entrepreneur Irah Anatine, her mother Catalina Streeter and European Parliament Deputy Paulo Casaca have in common ? This is what I tried to find out upon my arrival to Avalon Isle's Babel, a beautifully designed compound of squeaky clean marble buildings. I was greeted by mother and daughter Catalina and Irah who first of all pampered me with a warm cup of Cappuccino before giving me a thorough tour of the premises.

I was mostly impressed by this Hi Tech conference hall which can accommodate up to 100 people, free of charge, including providing security and technical services. Local security are well trained and experienced in handling spammers or abusive avatars. Free speech is endorsed here, except racism, Irah says.

The compound also includes facilities such as a library, a university, a school, a cinema, a business center, a Cafe Babel, offices for rent, an art gallery and many more.

So how does Paulo Casaca fit into all this ? Irah says she came to SL to promote dialogue among citizens and several associations and institutions she believes in. All her work is sponsored by the European Parliament Deputy Paulo Casaca, Catalina Streeter and Ras Hye. You'll find her learning with them in Athmosphere, at Avalon Island.

European Parliament Deputy Paulo Casaca offers a new angle on the Iranian Nuclear Crisis. He calls the International community to adopt a different approach towards the the Iranian Mujahedeen - an organization the regime in Tehran considers as its enemy number one, along side America and Israel.. He says it is a legitimate resistance movement that merits the support of the free world. He believes the Mujahedeen constitute the world's best chance to counter the growing Iranian threat. More..

Sr. Paulo Casaca (born on 2 July 1957, Lisbon) is a Portuguese politician and Member of the European Parliament for Portugal's Socialist Party (Partido Socialista); part of the Party of European Socialists. He is a regular contributor to the regional and national press on economic and political subjects and author of many books and shorter publications.

Flying Windmills - a Reality in Second Life

second life pictures - flying windmills, turbines, generators
An important advantage Second Life has is to enable scientists to present the world with models of their newest inventions at a minimum investment. Sky WindPower, a San Diego, California–based start-up calls our attention to a new kind of machine at the PopSci Future Lounge. It's not a helicopter, nor an exotic kite, but a Flying Electric Generator (FEG) designed to generate up to 20 Megawatts. The company says only 4 million dollars and a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration is needed for realizing the dream. More...

Regular windmills are noisy, cause television interferences and are considered not pretty by many people. The flying windmills are expected to solve these disadvantages and generate 5 times more electricity, since they will be harnessing the strong winds of the Jet stream, 11 kilometers above the surface of the earth.

The FEG is fixed to a 3 inch-thick tether that will serve both for anchoring it to the ground and shuttling the electricity. It will lift off the ground using electricity from the ground station to turn it's propellers (like a helicopter). Once off the ground it will hover with the aid of the natural Jet stream. Experiments have already begun. See video here.

Scientists have also started experimenting with floating windmills on the ocean, where winds are stronger and the potential for voltage production is thus bigger.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Malburns Writer's Metaverse InfoHub

second life pictures - mal burns metaverse infohubOne day, a man called MalBurns sent me an invitation to join his group - the Metaverse InfoHub. You have to admit the name sounds good.... I checked the group out :

"Working Together" across arts, entertainment, development, commerce and the media. Helping co-ordinate the activity in a rapidly evolving new society.
A private group for those involved with information provision, collection and distribution in Second Life and other Metaverses.
Based at Mal Burns' InfoHub - BFP Bouwinvest 2 (57, 199, 35). For membership information please contact Malburns Writer inworld.
Mal Burns constantly publishes SL links online via throughout the day.

Well, I was flattered and joined the group right away. To this day I do not regret it, because now and then Mal organises very interesting meetings involving top SL players. I went to visit Mals' conference and central operations facility today and caught him in the midst of last minute preparations for a Metanomics meeting to be held this evening.

second life pictures - mal burns metaverse infohubThe walls were covered with digital screens, connecting Mal to news agencies, and data distributors. If something happens at SL, MalBurns is sure to know about it, you can count on that!. He got numerous proposals to work as a professional reporter in SL, but he says he prefers to remain independent.

second life pictures - cnn camera
In one corner there was a CNN camera. CNN is now recruiting reporters, and anyone can join and send an SL I - Report. Sending an SL I-Report is easy. Use the FILE menu at the top left of your screen and select "Take Snapshot." Then send it as a postcard to In the "Message" field, tell CNN your avatar name, where you took the snapshot, and give a brief description of your SL I-Report. It’s that simple. If it's good, they will publish it at

I let Mal continue tweaking his central operations facility and went on to visit CNN . I stumbled onto a conference for future CNN - Ireporters.

second life pictures - cnn conferencePeople mostly wanted to find out what could motivate them to send CNN I-reports, given that CNN offers no monetary compensation. They also talked about what kind of topics in SL would make good stories. Tyson iReport, conducted the meeting and tried to provide answers.

second life pictures - Tyson iReport  ireporter
He said, iReporting shouldn't be considered as a job, but as sharing stories with the SL community. Someone said that iReporting could be a great avenue for free advertising, and another said that CNN is looking for volunteers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Humans Behind the Avatars

These are male and female avatars, obviously a couple. They are operated by human beings sitting in their homes behind computers. Once the human logs off Second Life his avatar ceases to exist. The avatar was created by the human, and controlled by him. The avatar does not have an independent life of his own.

I used to have a girlfriend in Second Life. I mean, my avatar had a girlfriend avatar. I guess it's the same thing. Anyway, we didn't have sex but we did all the things couples do in SL like dance and cuddle in romantic places. SL is practically a heaven for people who like to do those things. Anyway, we broke up and don't see each other anymore.

She sent me a picture of herself in RL. That means I got to see what the human who controls my avatar's girlfriend looks like. She does not look at all like her avatar. I must say that I too don't look like my avatar. My avatar is much more handsome and athletic than me. But there are similarities between me and my avatar. Our style is similar. We are both simply dressed, no jewelry, no studs, and nothing too fancy. Just simple guys.

This is now, but a while ago I had a warrior phase. My avatar was armed to the teeth with weapons of all kinds - bow, knives, swords etc... It's called role play. Many people in SL take this to the extreme and have avatars that are animal like or non human - monsters, fairies, Furries, Gothic. Some sims in SL look like a big Halloween party. But a 365 days in a year Halloween party.

Tornadoes on Mars

second life pictures - Viking lander on Mars
By Fresh Catteneo

The Martian area at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the California Institute of Technology experiences tornado storms every few minutes. Scientists who studied these swirling pillars of sand in Nevada measured electric charges of up to 4000 volts. They believe the voltage occurs as a result of friction between the dust particles rubbing against each other. These tornadoes are often called dust devils, and they form when hot air near the earth's surface flows upwards through a cooler pocket of air. On Mars, dust devils can be five times larger than on Earth.

But the three dust devils which simultaneously attacked the Viking Lander I were not strong enough to turn it over or even move it. It landed on Mars in 1976 in a mission to explore the Martian terrain and continued sending data to Earth until November 1982. There was also a Viking 2, and each Viking had an orbiter.

second life pictures - Mars airbagsAnother strange phenomenon I encountered on the red planet were big airbags which would pop out of nowhere and start bouncing down the cliff. As I was examining the Viking spacecraft I suddenly heard a strong rumble and then saw a strange cluster of giant balloons rolling straight towards me. I didn't have time to run away, so in a desperate attempt to save my life, I clicked on it to sit. To my great surprise I managed to sit on it but it kept on rolling and I soon found myself up side down with my head buried deep in the sand. Don't try this at home !
I think that these types of airbags were used for cushioning spacecrafts' landings on Mars.

second life pictures - nasa gliderThe ride on Nasa's little blue glider was much smoother, enjoyable and very recommended,

second life pictures - asteroid
although there was a gigantic rocky grey asteroid constantly chasing me.

second life pictures - rockets in the sunset
A view of Nasa's rockets bathing in the magical red sunset, made me soon forget all my worries.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Poem: A man in Second Life

A man in Second Life
A long road stretches ahead
What lies beyond is unknown
He pauses for a minute, his eyes screen the horizon
He need not eat nor sleep
For an avatar is he and forever young
Money, fame or profit ?
Fulfilling desires ?
In the horizon a bright light
The Future

By Fresh Catteneo

Friday, November 9, 2007

Free This Parrot Please

second life pictures - parrot in cage
This parrot is sad and miserable. Trapped in solitary confinement inside a 50 cm by 50cm steel barred cage, he will undoubtedly go insane or die of depression. He should be in his natural habitat - up on a tree, chirping merrily with his flock of parrot friends, passionately courting a parrot girlfriend or freely storming the endless skies. But this particular parrot was unfortunate enough to be chosen as an expensive and exotic decoration for one of Second Life's castles. He will never be able to do all those things which are his natural birthright and reason for his existence. Captivity,Cages, and Confinement are depressing, demoralising. and destroying our animals! Lets "free them from all exploitation.. Here's a nice video from U- Tube that would hopefully inspire the parrot's captors to set it free:
Free The Animals(send me on my way)

second life pictures - AngelHEROS
Ironically, this is all happening at AngelHEROS Mainland Embassy. AngelAID is a Not-for-Profit charity organization in the USA serving children with life-threatening diseases or undesirable situations (homeless, abused, or in foster care). I am sure that the AngelHeroes didn't mean to harm the poor parrot, but is it possible that in the midst of heroic efforts to help children, animal rights were overlooked ? None of us are perfect, and I am not criticizing AngelHeroes, but please pay attention to this, you guys...
AngelHeroes is a part of a group in SL called the
Global Movement for Peace. Their main goals are:

To foster a culture of peace through education
To promote sustainable economic and social development
To promote respect for all human rights
To ensure equality between women and men
To foster democratic participation
To advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity
To support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge
To promote international peace and security

second life pictures - penguin floating in the air
This penguin was found floating high above a building called Garden for the Missing, a Non profit organization honoring the many who disappear from family and friends. This organization is also a member of the Global Movement for Peace. Here again, like in the parrot's case, somebody disregarded animal rights. The poor penguin is stuck up there, with a fluorescent green foggy ball enveloping the lower part of his body. And I call the owners of Garden for the Missing: "Please bring the poor animal down and release it from the foggy green ball. You are doing a great job helping parents and relatives find their missing loved ones. I am sure this penguins family is sick worried about him. Get him down."

second life pictures - missing children

Thursday, November 8, 2007

About Friendship in Second Life

By Fresh Catteneo

The blue box in the top right-hand corner of the screen is a friendship offer that I received this morning. It made me feel good and happy. This person probably finds me either attractive or interesting (or both). Who doesn't like to be offered friendship ? I did not respond immediately by pushing the "Accept" or "Decline" buttons. First of all, who is this person ? Why is he/she offering friendship ? What is he/she looking for? What are their interests ?. This can be checked out easily through the person's profile. A quick look at the groups the person is a member of will quickly reveal his whole world. Does his/her world correspond to my world ? If yes, then I might accept the offer. But what am I looking for in Second Life ? Well, that is something I still have to work out.
I think that I read somewhere that if you decline some one's friendship offer or kick him out of your friend's list, you will never be able to make friends with that person again in SL (under your current name). So, there is always the possibility to make friends with someone, and keep him/her, locked in the cellar, that is, not let him see your online status. And then one day, when you need that person for some reason or another, you can contact him and say: "Hey Buddy, long time no see ! " The problem is to explain where you were all that time....
SL knew what they were doing when they enabled this function of not letting your friends see your online status. It can be pretty stressful when you get three or more people simultaneously calling you. The "friends" option in SL is not strictly reserved for social friendships but also serves for business purposes and contacts with clients or business partners. When one has more than 10 - 20 "friends", and still wants to surf SL with a peaceful state of mind or concentrate on doing some work, it is indispensable to be able to control if people see you online or not.

So did I finally accept that friendship offer ? Yes, I did...

Man Threatens to Jump Off Bridge

second life pictures - Man Threatens to Jump Off Bridge
By Fresh Catteneo

This happened today at The Lost Gardens of Apollo , a paradise of magical towers and enchanted gardens. The man, (Stone Perenti) aged somewhere between 20 - 30 stood on the banister of a bridge suspended about 300 meters above ground. I tried talking to him to find out if he was going to jump and why but all he did was mutter a few sounds. The girl standing next to him was in "busy" state. Didn't seem to care.... When I came back a few minutes later, he disappeared. I am guessing the guy was trying to impress the girl with this stunt, but didn't really succeed.

second life pictures - practicing  Tai ChiDown below, people were practicing Tai Chi - an internal Chinese martial art often practiced with the aim of promoting health and longevity. Tai chi chuan's training forms are well known as the slow motion routines that groups of people practice together every morning in parks around the world, particularly in China. Some medical studies support its effectiveness as an alternative exercise and a form of martial arts therapy.

second life pictures - ROMANTIC PLACE

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Communists Against Communists

second life pictures - communism and communistsBy Fresh Catteneo

It seems that sooner or later every organization, government, business or institution on Earth
will have an embassy in Second Life. Communism already does and it's located on the Red Strip. But after a brief tour of the location I grew more confused about Communism than ever before, mostly because of this exhibit (shown in the picture) of some Communist leaders, named "Communism's Greatest Hits". It can't be seen on the picture but inworld there are labels above the heads of each of these figures. Each label states the number of dead people the Communist leader is responsible for. Starting from the left: 2 million (name ?), 30 million (Mao Tze Tung), 2 million (name ?), 20 million (Stalin), 4 million (name ?). I don't know where these numbers are coming from but I do know about the Communist Party's history of killings from reading the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party.

second life pictures - communism and communistsThe people responsible for building the Red Strip apparently belong to a group called the Communists of SL. Both sides of the boulevard are crowded with a colorful mish mash of buildings, flags and roadsigns of all shapes, sizes and styles. It's a blend of Communism, Marxism, Leninism, and Socialism. It's not very clear who represents what and if these ideologies are consistent or contradict one another. But the main question that bothers me is that if the Communists of SL are aware that Communism has led to so much death and destruction, what keeps them going and why do they persist in nourishing and participating in this movement ?

second life pictures - communism and communists
Another problem:
The Red Strip is a perfect example of the architectual chaos that exists in SL. People build extravagant ultra modern sky high glass towers a few meters away from old, battered and dirty brick houses. Gigantic road signs are everywhere and strange statues pop out in the skyline. It's not very beautiful and disturbing to the eye. I can understand that buying land enables you to build whatever and however you like, but there should still be some architectual logic and order in the SL sims. What SL needs is a city architect:

This is responsible supervisory and professional architectural work involving the performance and/or oversight of a full range of architectural services (e.g., design, project evaluation, programming, schematics, construction cost estimating, preparing working drawings and specifications, contract bidding and administration, etc.) for City building and remodeling projects. The work also includes design, review and planning for the City’s space needs, developing policies regarding building construction and efficient building operation, supervising a staff of employees responsible for maintaining a number of City facilities, performing budget development and monitoring activities, and providing advice and assistance to other City agencies in the areas of expertise. The work is performed independently under the limited supervision of the Inspection Unit Director.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Reporters Without Borders in Second Life

second life pictures - reporters without borders
By Fresh Catteneo

This beautiful two-story cottage in the pastoral green countryside of Hangflame district (23/84/92 ) is the new SL home of the human rights organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF - Pour la liberte de la presse). Their mission is to aid journalists worldwide and protect the freedom of press especially in areas where government censorship is extreme and free reporting can result in imprisonment or even death of journalists.

second life pictures - reporters without borders
This is a look from the inside. The walls are covered with maps and pictures, all themed around the freedom of press. This picture in particular caught my attention:

second life pictures - reporters without bordersThere was a map of the world showing the situation of press freedom in different countries around the world. The different colors represent different degrees of press freedom. White - Good situation, Grey - satisfactory situation, Blue - noticeable problems, Red - difficult situation, Black - very serious situation.

second life pictures - reporters without bordersI was interested to see which are the countries marked in black. China was the most obvious one, because it was the biggest black spot on the map. Also in black are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Cuba, Burma, Libya, Laos, Belarus, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Eritrea, Tunisia and North Korea.
When I came back to the sim to collect more information I spotted two black spots hovering above the cottage. Upon closer inspection they turned out to be rockets. I wouldn't be surprised if someone tried to wipe me out while I was doing this report.

second life pictures - reporters without borders
I do not know who fired them but I did discover that they were originally manufactured by SL builder Jack Orlowski. And he states:

Being awake and being conscious are intrinsically different in their psychological manifestations. They are not polar opposites. Rather, they are 2 distinctly different levels of being. The being awake simply denotes that one is aroused from his/her sleep (or inactive, complacent, and isolated state). But, if one is not conscious, that is fully and acutely aware of his/her being as well as the rest of his/her world...then he/she might as well be in a coma. So, Tell Me...Are You Comatose?
I also build ships for rl. I specialize in custom fabrication for RL and SL. Im a gear head all the way through and enjoy making the illest most RL models possible. Come check out OpFor in Jessie

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Second Life's Record Holders

By Fresh Catteneo

Reporting from the depths of Cyberspace

I think that everyone in SL, every now and then crosses paths with avatars that are soooo weird that you just can't take your eyes off them. I am not talking about those who no longer have a human image, like the Furries, who look more like animals. I am talking about humanoid avatars that have one or more of their features totally exaggerated. Like this guy in the picture for example, who looks like he was hit by a lightening or accidentally stuck his finger in an electric socket. No, actually all he did was wear two tons of jewelry with the bling particle effect. I'll tell you how I met this guy, who's name by the way is Rupen Razor, and I am not kidding. I went one day to the Mambo Beach, very early in the morning. There were only a couple of people there. Then I saw from a distance something flashing and could hear very strong popping sounds of electric sparks. I was convinced I was looking at an avatar who is welding something, as if he was doing maintenance work at the Sim. When I came closer I saw that it was not welding but his blingy jewelry. So, then I thought I might do a series of articles on Second Life's record holders. Is there someone blingier than Rupen Razor ? If there is, I wanna see it !

Now look at this guy. Isn't he the most muscular man in SL ? His name is Nail Sands and I managed to snap his picture a split second before he disappeared. It was at the Linden Village.
If I see anymore record holders, I promise to report, so stay tuned...
Or if YOU see any, let me know !

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rabbit Assassinated in Virtual New York

csi:ny in second life - dead rabbitBy Fresh Catteneo
Second Life Reporter

If you thought Second Life is a paradise of beautiful flowers, magical landscapes and enchanting sunsets then you are..... probably right. But there is a second side to Second Life and it is dark and dangerous. This white rabbit was shot point blank right in the forehead on CSI:NY Orientation West . With a cigar still stuck in his mouth he lay flat on his back while his wound oozed blood all over the sidewalk. A close examination of the footprints leading away from the body reveals they belong to someone wearing high heels.

csi:ny in second life - dead rabbit
I was not alone on the crime scene. In fact, the area was surprisingly crowded. But not by typical SL residents wearing L$ 2000 suits and skins, but by dozens of shiny bran newbies with NOT flexy hair. Most of them had CSI FAN tags on them and NY police badges... Here's a picture of a typical CSI:NY fan inspecting the scene:

csi:ny in second life -csi fanAnd what else is typical newbie behaviour at SL? There are two main ones; being in a state of "Away" or in a state of "Editing Appearance". This girl came to the crime scene to help solve the crime (I'll tell you about that in a minute), so why is she dozing off while floating in midair ? And wearing only one shoe ?! What's going on here ? Is this a police badge I am seeing on her right breast ?

csi:ny in second life - csi detective
The rabbit was shot by a dangerous assassin called Venus who started off in an episode of CSI:NY , later escaping her pursuers into SL.

csi:ny in second life - assassin venus
The CSI detectives followed her tracks, in the form of SL avatars. They are detective Paul Dawson, Medical Examiner Dr Dacota Lenox, CSI Nathalie Evans, and Jared Washington.

csi:ny in second life - csi detectivesAlso a major player is detective Zuiker:

csi:ny in second life - csi detective zuiker
This virtual CSI team calls SL residents, CSI:NY fans and literally anyone with a bit of a detective spirit to help locate the whereabouts of Venus and deliver her alive to the hands of the police. This apparently draws many people to participate. At the sim's landing spot (welcome area), I counted new avatars materialize at a rate of about 5 - 10 per minute.

csi:ny in second life - newbie avatarsOnce you arrive, you are instructed to download an additional piece of software called the OnRez (developed by the Electric Sheep Company), which is a sort of upgraded traditional SL viewer. It's very user friendly and enhances the overall SL experience. The detectives left clues and tracks one must follow in different sims in SL. I am not sure but did I see a reward of 5000$ ? The game will go on until February 2008. I might continue following this story, so stay tuned....