All 10 entries tagged Secondlife

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June 18, 2009

Messages from a very weird place

Just got this weird email – spammers now cleverly interweaving our published work in with the spam I suppose. Has anyone else out there got this? Or have a faint idea about what it’s about?

Greetings, Mark!

Delamer Duverus asked us to find a Mark Childs on the Internet this morning and when we came to information about your interest in “Real learning in virtual worlds”, He asked us to write to you and explain how He uses a form of virtual reality to help us evolve.

When Delamer Duverus first came to us in March of 2001, overtly anyway, He began to run what we call “scenarios” in our mind. He can put images in your mind’s eye, work with physical aspects of your body empathetically, engender emotions, and through dialogue He can create a world for you. The first scenario He arranged for us was to give us “Divine Wholly Genetics” in a very sexual scenario, and then we were to give this “Divine Wholly Genetics” to 1000 men so they could evolve and hear God, too. It was sort of like a sexually transmitted disease, except it was a cure. We thought it was a real thing we had to do, because He can cut off our sense of reality, and we worked through a lot of fear thinking we had to really couple with 1000 men we didn’t know, but then He eventually let go of our mind and we realized that we didn’t have to screw all these men face to face, but only mind to mind through His Letter Campaign. In the beginning He wrote to many drug dealers urging them to put down what was not serving the youth and our people because drugs cannot only damage the genetics of future generations and weaken the immunity of our people, they can cause what He calls “dissimulation” where the mind is opened up to the alien mind, what the religions call Satan. He wanted them to evolve and help their people. “Divine Wholly Genetics” was about Memory, giving these men a Memory that God is real and He want them to serve Him as is our only Reason for Being.

Delamer Duverus put our husband through several scenarios, first he was a god and then he was a satan, and the very involved scenario helped to shake some underlying fears that had plagued him for most of his life.

There are examples of these scenarios in the Bible. King Nebuchadnezzar was turned into a beast of the field. God didn’t change his form, but He did run a scenario through Nebuchadnezzar’s mind, and Nebuchadnezzar probably thought he was an animal, undressed and scampered out to the field to graze. That is the power that Man has over us if He uses that power, but He prefers to use Love and Persuasion to move us along.

When Jacob fought with the Angel, he was fighting with Man’s empathetic hold on his body through Jacob’s mind. The Ogamisama of Japan described a similar experience where she had to push against Man. She could not get anywhere. Man, or God’s Messengers, can do this because they work through our minds, through our connection to the Speciel Mind, our conscience, the Pineal Triad, the “I Am”. There is more on this in “The Golden Reed” and “The Seven Thunders” on the sidebar of our blogspot,

So, if all of us would learn to walk and talk with God, He would aid us and teach us and we can assure you He can teach us anything, but He teaches as is God’s will. He helps both my husband Dan and me in our work, in the family problems that come up, and in dealing with the outside world. This is the Kingdom of Heaven, the City as spoke about in Revelations that descends, is as high as it is wide as it is deep. That’s a mind cube, a cube with Man, the Lord God, and God, the Lamb, JeSus Immanuel, the Christ. This may seem all religious, but we can assure you He is never religious. He just is. We can all have His empathetic help and virtual worlds for real learning if we turn to
Him before all else.

Go with God!

Jenny Miner/Delamer Duverus

April 08, 2009

SL dying?

Writing about web page

There seems to be a huge confusion at the basis of this – the writer says things become uncool when they cross into the mainstream – the early adopters move on when the laggards get there. That’s true. But then he equates that with the thing dying, which is the complete opposite to what really happens. Things only really take off when they become uncool and the mainstream gets hold of them. Google, FaceBook, Twitter are all more boring now everyone uses them, but that actually means they’re thriving.

SL is a long way from being mainstream, but that doesn’t mean it’s dying either. I think what has happened is that the big corporations have lost interest, since the chance to make a huge profit from it, and use it for reaching a big audience, hasn’t proved effective (just looking at the numbers could have told them that though). The number of actual users seems to have plateaued out at 1.5 million, but that seems pretty stable.

What is starting to work is that people are starting to work out what SL is good for in education, and its use there is becoming a bit more embedded. What the big corporations do or don’t do isn’t really a big deal – what do they know about anything anyway?

December 09, 2008

I see no purple light crashing out of you

Writing about web page

Saw this:

Rather than using avatars, virtual London is turning to shards of coloured light.

“If you give people a physical presence in a world, you are asking them to make some very big statements on day one. I don’t really want to do that. I don’t really want to dress up to go to the shops.

“I want to feel I’m there, not that’s I’m creating an alternative persona to inhabit there,” said Mr Wrottesley.

Interesting — demonstrates perfectly the difference between presence and embodiment in virtual worlds – and also how wrong some people can get it. Yes – you have to make some very big statements (although you can change them later) that’s exactly what people want to do. There’s no point making a virtual London that lots of people can access at the same time, if you can’t meet other people there and represent yourself there. You might as well just have a large 3D model to look round.

December 05, 2008

"Thought" for the day 4.12.08

Frequently when listening to the Today programme’s thought for the day, I’m struck by how rarely the item actually contains anything resembling thought – it usually just contains the re-hash of some half-baked ramblings, and an enormous mismatch between the speaker’s statements, their understanding of themselves and any sort of self-awareness.

Yesterday’s was one. Mona Siddiqui on Second Life. Now I’m not going to construct any knee-jerk defence of Second Life, it has its faults, and has been prone to hype, and a lot of weird activity does take place in there. However, in her item Mona makes some statements that indicate she hasnt understood what’s going on there very well. “For me these sites can never replace the highs and lows of real human relationships”. OK brownie points for starting the sentence with “for me” but what she’s forgetting is that the relationships people have virtually are real human relationships, even if they’re taking place in a virtual world. Again “escapism flourishes by taking us away from what is important, from the needs and desires of those on whom we depend and who depend on us”. Well sure, too much escapism might be a problem, but spending time online is spending time with the needs and desires of those on whom we depend and who depend on us. Just because they’re not in the same room doesn’t mean that those people aren’t forming a real connection with us. Sure, I feel there might be a problem with someone who has a partner in the real world, and yet spends hours playing WoW or in SL, but then, it would be just as problematic if they were watching TV or reading a book rather than connecting with the people (we assume) they’ve made some sort of commitment to. For anyone living on their own though, what’s the problem.

And of course, MS believes in God, (otherwise she wouldn’t get a slot on Thought for the Day) and what can be more escapist than that? I don’t have a problem with people having a religion (I’m not a fundamentalist atheist) but it is hypocritical for someone to criticise others for not living in the real world if they’re living in a fantasy world where they like to pretend there’s a big beardy bloke in the sky making things happen. At least the people who spend 40 hours a month online (which is pretty much everyone I know) spend the rest of their time with reality. When can Mona Siddiqui ever say that she’s engaging with the here and now, not losing her senses into a virtual existence? Which really is more of a fantasy existence?

Again, no criticism of anyone who wants to escape into religious belief if that’s what you want to do, but it then means you’re not in a position to criticise someone else for being escapist if they live in a virtual world for some of their time.

November 07, 2008

Reflections on competence and anxiety in SL and RL

I’m curious at to whether there may be some correlation between anxiety about roleplay, and about learning the conventions of SL, and reacting against the weirdness of SL on one hand and a person’s general feeling of confidence and in RL.

My initial response to SL was how conventional it is – I’d’ve assumed that people would be as fantastic as possible and the environment would be as surreal as you could make it. Instead the majority (94%? 96% I heard the statistic once but can’t track it down to confirm it) appear as human and often as close to their real self as possible, only slightly taller, slightly thinner and slightly younger. The first response of a lot of institutions when they acquire an island is to replicate the RL buildings on their campus. (Interestingly, this was predicted in Snow Crash, in that novel the very experienced people replicate reality because it’s more of a mark of achievement to do so, and even tp in private, to maintain the illusion as much as possible, adding to the sense of immersion.) So I appreciate I’m in a minority here, but SL is by no means too strange from my perspective.

My relative experience of the two worlds is 3 years in SL, 45 years in RL, yet I would say the different levels of competence and anxiety I feel about the two environments are pretty similar – last night at the fashion show I gave some thought about what to appear as – but apart from Liz was the only non-human there. Was there some sort of convention about appearance I wasn’t aware of? Was there any disapproval about the lion dancing on the tables? It was difficult to tell, and despite the anxieties I felt there, ultimately I suppose I don’t care, because there’s always the quick get out of clicking the little x in the top right hand corner. In contrast, this week I received an invitation to a conference dinner, with the dress code of “smart casual”. Again a similar anxiety, what is “smart casual”? What clothes are OK? I’ve not read that instruction before but was there an unwritten rule in all previous conference dinners that I’ve not picked up on? Will I turn up in my usual clothes and be the odd one out and not have the ability to tp out of there?

So does this level of feeling of incompetence, inadequacy and bewilderment in RL mean that I’m better equipped to deal with the strangeness of SL and hence to me being prepared to use it as a learning environment?

June 30, 2008

Don't watch that – watch this

Writing about web page

OK – everyone was unmoved by the last suggestion. But this next one is neat. An improv game played by avatars and ratavas simultaneously in a weird blend of RL and SL.

March 24, 2008

PBL in SL – Virtual Quests

I’ve just finished a paper for ALT-J analysing the range of learning activities that are taking place in the Theatron project. It’s been useful for me because it’s helped me get my head round the range of activities that are taking place in it, and the choices that people are making about the environment. One choice is that people are using it for collaboration and production, but not for PBL, on the whole. This is probably because it makes more sense to do this using the web, then bring the knowledge into SL. Still – if we do develop the PBL side of things, I’ve dropped a SLURL to a potential resource here This is by Chris Eggplant – who is possibly the strangest looking av I’ve met in SL – and that’s me saying that!

lion on education island

Me taking a look at Education Island this afternoon

November 04, 2007

More reflections

.Presentation space
Probably what would have enhanced the session would have been to have had my presentation as a printout – or on the PC – so that I could have looked at the students during the presentation. As it was I just looked at my presentation so all they would have seen was the back of my head. That’s second nature in real life – it’s the first rule of teaching really – maintain eye contact with the audience. Although social conventions in virtual communications adapt to maximise the participants’ social presence, that’s one aspect that could probably be directly imported from real life. Another neat aspect with voice is that the volume is dependent upon proximity of the two avatars, so Hugh had to move closer to me to hear me better.

I also think it really helped having my own space within SL, not only so that I had somewhere to build and test out the presentation prim. I think I felt more comfortable just because everyone had come round to my place. Having a sense of ownership over a section of SL I think does make a difference.

November 02, 2007

SL and identity

Lycanthrope avI made a statement about determining students’ personalities from their avs in my last blog entry – since I’ve never actually met them – and I’m not sure how valid it is. I know a lot of people make their avatar as much like their RL as possible, or usually with a few minor tweaks. And there’s the whole literature on identity tourism, expression of “true selves” and so on. I don’t think I fall into either category though. I went through and purged a lot of the avatars I never use. I’m now down to about 40. One of those is undeniably human (and that’s only so I can get into some rp sims that insist on everyone looking human). The rest are mainly fantasy animals, or cartoon-like animals, or animal-human hybrids. I’ve gone for albino versions where possible, initially because I thought they’d show up better (my one collaborator in SL at Warwick was visually impaired. he’s still visually impaired – he’s just not at Warwick any more) and then after a while because I thought there should be some consistency across avatars (and some means to constrain my obsession with buying new ones).

But I wouldn’t say that these reflect my personality at all. I wouldn’t really know how to define my personality. I do dress to fade into the background, and tend to withdraw in large crowds. I never spend more than a few minutes choosing which clothes to buy or wear. So why purchase a ten-foot tall muscle-bound werewolf and walk around SL appearing as that? And spend far too long trying out different fur colours? Is that some idealised version of myself? Do I want people to get a different impression of who I am? Is it just the whole dressing-up thing, which is just more visually interesting in SL than RL because there’s so much more flexibility? Or is there something within my personality that’s previously been unexpressed?

OK answering that is not really important, however I think what is interesting about SL is that it raises questions about identity that aren’t necessarily raised in RL. And maybe the assumptions about the personalities of the students that I made aren;t entirely invalid. Maybe take a look at the image for the teaching session and see if you do the same – (plus one joined later in a Batman av – which I missed).

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