Saturday Mixed Bag

secondlifeSix interesting links for the week:

Hummingbird Nest: Take a look at these astonishing pictures (be sure to check out all five pages) of the birth of hummingbirds. As you do, keep in mind that these pictures are twice actual size. Thanks to Susan Hales for the link.

iPod Flea: If you haven’t seen this it’s good for a laugh.

Second Life: I’m told that Second Life, a video game “framework” where the players create the content a sample of which is shown at right), is highly addictive. Here’s what the site says:

Second Life is a virtual world – a 3D online persistent space totally created and evolved by its users. Within this vast and rapidly expanding place, you can do, create or become just about anything you can imagine. Built-in content creation tools let you make almost anything you can imagine, in real time and in collaboration with others. An incredibly detailed digital body (‘Avatar’) allows a rich and customizable identity. A powerful physics simulation running on a backbone of hundreds of connected computers and growing with the population allows you to be immersed in a visceral, interactive world that as of April 2005 covers more than 12,000 acres and 20,000 owned plots of land. The ability to design and resell 3D content, combined with the ability to own and develop land and a microcurrency, which can be exchanged to real money means that you can build a real business entirely within Second Life. If you are simply curious about what it would be like to wander a world filled with colorful people in which the only limits are imagination, you will find the Second Life software easy to install, and the basic experience of moving around and experiencing the world simple and fun, with many friendly people waiting to help you once you arrive.

If I had more time on my hands, I might try this. Could this be used to simulate answers to global problems in some meaningful way, to see what the Wisdom of Crowds has to say about them before we try them in the real world?

Taiko Mania: If you don’t know about Taiko:

Taiko began as a cultural expression of the Asian American civil rights movement representing the dual (American and Asian) identities of the practitioners. Audiences, performers and young students gravitated to this art form that encouraged them to be both Asian and American. While enhancing Asian American identity and serving as a symbol of cultural empowerment, the first generation of American “taiko pioneers” nurtured students in youth groups and junior taiko programs throughout North America.

You may have seen some of the Taiko videos popping up all over, perhaps the new Mitsubishi Eclipse commercial.

Personal Productivity Improvement Gets Another Boost: A new article in HBR says that personal productivity coaching should take the place of bums-on-chairs (and computer-assisted) group orientation programs. I’ve been saying this for years. Maybe now that HBR is saying it, people will start listening. “Don’t tell me, show me.”

And The Gift Economy Gets Another Boost: A new article on Open Source explains to those who haven’t caught on yet the remarkable sense of giving away stuff free.

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5 Responses to Saturday Mixed Bag

  1. John Frost says:

    Full Cost Sim-World. Is there a MMORG sim-like game out there where the challenge is to build a fully functioning technologically advanced society while accounting for the full cost of development? If not, perhaps there should be. Resource aware developers could use this simulation to game-theory their projects.

  2. Second life has really poor graphics and is so laggy it really isn’t very much fun.

  3. Doug Alder says:

    Dave – while the surge in popularity of Taiko can, no doubt, be attributed to “a cultural expression of the Asian American civil rights movement representing the dual (American and Asian) identities of the practitioners.” THat was not its beginning as suggested by that quote. Taiko is a very old Japanese art form that, if memory serves, owes its roots to the military. When I lived in Japan in the mid 70s there were always taiko groups at parades, festivals etc.

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    John: This is a fascinating idea. I’ll run it by some of my environmental friends. Chris: Thanks for the perspective, I wonder what the demographics are of its fans? Doug: Thanks for the history lesson. ;-)

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