Escort derails coverage of science museums in 'Second Life'

First, the disclaimer: I work for Village Voice Media.  Village Voice Media runs the Westword.  The Westword ran this story on science museums in Second Life.  Yes, I'm practicing both partiality and blatant (semi)self-promotion.  Now that that's out of the way...

As I reported over on Heartless Doll, we have here another feature piece on Second Life that gets derailed by the decadence factor.  It can't seem to focus on the story at hand: namely, that science is finding a home in a world where the welcome lack of safety concerns leaves room for education.  Specifically, the article highlights the creation of science museums, like the in-world branch of San Francisco's Exploratorium, that let visitors approach learning in the form of rides that would be too dangerous or costly to build in real life.  In addition, there's talk of a replica nuclear reactor, which could serve as a practice tool for those preparing to work with the real thing.

That's all downright fascinating -- especially the part about the people who'll hold the key to our future nuclear safety looking for virtual analogs -- but this piece looses its focus from the beginning, spending its first eight paragraphs ogling  a Second Life escort who happens to walk through one science center.  Yes, she's "hot."  Yes, she's wearing knee-high boots.  But wasn't there a story being told here?  Not to put down the Westword for their valiant effort, but it's about time that the hook behind virtual world coverage is no longer addiction, or crazy avatars, or sex.  Not that I don't like sex, because you all know I do, but because there's more to talk about here than favors being exchanged for Linden dollars...

Comments on Escort derails coverage of science museums in 'Second Life':

dandellion Kimban says:

Another one of the bad articles. I really tried to read, but after I've learned that "Second Life is like 3D Internet" and concluded that author cannot distinct Internet and Web, I quit. And why would I read an article about science written by somebody who gets so easily distracted by a cartoon skirt? I like SL, I like science, I like cybersex. But I never confuse them. Especially if I should write a story about any of them.

Posted Sep 18, 2008 5:37:47 PM | link

Tim says:

I don't think it's a bad article at all - I think it's exactly how an average person would react to your typical "weirdness" of Second Life. Face it, the presence of escorts, flying penises and Gor slaves is exactly why mainstreaming SL is about impossible to do.

Second Life is like having to watch 4 TV channels at once, and you only get to choose one of them - the other three are random. You might choose NOVA but you very well may get a cooking show, late night public access Cable and 24/7 porn on the other three. And given that sex, porn and other such things are very predominant, it's a good bet that's what will show up on the other screens sooner rather than later.

Posted Sep 22, 2008 7:26:55 PM | link

Tim says:

Reading the article, I'm struck by what a dead place he describes. There is nobody there but an escort and another guy who just vanishes after a while. It's like reading about a restaurant with nobody in it or an empty shopping mall.

Posted Sep 22, 2008 10:32:37 PM | link

Arnold Hendrick says:

I have to agree with Tim.

I think the point of the article is the very openness of SL regions to all visitors is an achilles heel as well as a strength. SL museums have all sorts of visitors, including ones that you wouldn't want your 8-year-old child or great-aunt Petunia to meet. It's an excellent argument for alternative approaches to virtual worlds that embody ***slightly*** more controls.

Posted Sep 25, 2008 8:27:42 PM | link

Chimera Cosmos says:

Tim and Arnold clearly spend very little time in Second Life, which makes them qualified to evaluate the The original post is much more thoughtful. And useful.

Posted Oct 8, 2008 2:09:02 AM | link

Tim says:

Actually CC I have personally spent quite a bit of time in there and owned a fair bit of land. I go back in fairly often to check out educational and historical recreations of areas in SL.

Posted Oct 10, 2008 5:01:43 PM | link

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Posted Oct 14, 2008 9:17:15 PM | link