FMS Deviant Domain, one of the lucky winners in the huge unseemly land grab taking place now where it's said to be "first come first served" in terms of who ever got a ticket in first -- but many have come to doubt the process. This owner got a spot right next to the main Kama City commercial area. Aren't you glad the Lindens have made the grid safe for products like the, er Piercing Puller (shudder).
Chemical Waste Clean-Up
New textures in Zindra let us know that the Lindens know how to clean up a beach from all that toxic-waste chemical-spill land they had in the Moth Continent. I didn't find a single broken needle, condum, or Tampex while flying around the pristine new Green continent.
"Come Yesterday And You'll Be First
Vryl Valkyrie, Linden FIC pet, Herald victim, and Library windfall receiver first on the adult grid! I had NO IDEA that Vryl was in the adult biz, did you? turns out she has a title Sextasy and some anims that are sex poses. Who knew?! Go know! Rumour has it that the land flippers are already here and flipping -- haven't caught one yet.
This ad for Palm Pre is put here to piss off tekkies who hate Palm Pre [because widgeteers can't get rich with APIs off it], and because it's a cool ad that shows you a life of connectivity and patterns but with an individual -- a woman -- controlling it and yet seemingly not being dominated by it. The men are not in jumpsuits. They are not in prison. They are dancing like Tibetan monks. They aren't in a Kotex ad. Also, you could think about using the Palm Pre on the Internet of Things. I may not get one, however, as the keyboard looks dinky.
There aren't enough hours in the day to put out all the fires needing putting out on the Web 3D or 2010 or whatever the PC name for it is these days -- and just when you thought you be worrying about the cloud or the bitter aftermaths of defeated Twitter revolutions in Iran or Moldova or the fact that Facebook is really all public now -- the spimes came back.Hellllpppppp save mmmeeee Popeye!
So this is a long meandering post in which I think about these things while multi-tasking and you can skip to the end if you like or just read the headlines.
SECOND LIFE PREDICTED ALL THIS AND DOES ALL THIS ALREADY SO LOOK OUT!
Speaking of spimes (which I wrote about a year ago here, which was blocked in technorati), I was just roaming round Zindra trying to pick out a parcel that might actually be something I could get (i.e. I followed the strategy of not trying to queue up with the rest of the stampede at 10 am today when I was busy at work anyway, and didn't try to put in an ask for some fabulous double-prim city land or fabulous beachfront, but decided to go for some working-class roadside with only remote seaview, or one parcel that had a grand view of a...waste pipe.
I love Linden builds, they are so, er, evocative. I swam over to this grandiloquent structure and went walking around underground in a moles' tunnel, where you can find copies of old magazines, bottles, pencils (I guess they don't use laptops) and clipboards. Along the way, Michael Linden ensured that he had an interactivity spime-type record by putting a large roach named Boris (yes, he is named Boris) for sale, so I bought him. (I use that same technique by the way, it's fun). So now I have a large roach named Boris. I have to say the Moles kinda copied the idea for tunnels that Jessica Ornitz put in under the Ross infohub, where she put mice and moth-eaten boxes but where Boris could just as easily find a home I suppose. Actually I suppose everybody copied these ideas from, er, real life tunnels under cities lol.
WHO RUNS THE TINY TWITTER TUBE HOOKUPS?
So, speaking of lots of tiny Twitter tubes - and yes, that's what Tish called them -- Tish Shute from Ugotrade has now become enamored (and has been for a while since she dumped virtual worlds as being too slow and virtual) with augmented reality and the, erm, stream of stuff and the Internet of things. Well -- there's a lot to object to in Tish's piece, including her immoral equivalence of the Iranian regime and the mullahs with some technocrats in the U.S. But...Let's start with a phrase like this:
Stowe Boyd is managing director of Microsyntax.org, a non-profit investigating the embedding of structured information within microstreaming applications, particularly Twitter. It is a communitarian project so if you are interested you should get involved – see Stowe’s #140conf. presentation, “The evolution of Microsyntax.”
Stowe is an architect of “flow” and a webthropologist of the State of NOW.
Both of these sentences are things that I would stop the press for and say, no. Wait a minute. Or at least "where is my barf bag". Who died and made an er, communitarian project in charge of all of our communication platform of Twitter? Why /SFO or /SFO/ as the syntax instead of the existing email and Twitter @ just because somebody needs a machine to read a closed phrase? Why are "communitarians" deciding these things? and no, please don't tell me to patch or GTFO or whine, "what are you doing to help if you haven't joined or participated"? My job here is to screech wildly about *process*.
You know, sometimes it takes awhile for the tumblers to click -- then they do.
Would it be possible that the entire Dale Innis thing is scripted and planned to help boost Open Sim (which IBM really seems more interested in these days), denigrate Second Life -- or at least keep its more unsightly parts better managed -- and also keep the most vocal and open critic of Open Sim (me) antagonized? Well, of course it's possible. In fact, if they didn't invent it, they'd have to invent it.
Would it also be possible -- thinking it through further -- that corporate IBM would have a vested interest in trying to move Linden Lab along toward sequestering its adult content -- and would try to think of how best to do that not too obviously, in a scripted and planned manner? Well, *of course* it's possible.
What would be one really, really good way of doing that?
Well, one way you could do that would be to have this goofy supposedly completely-independent-IBM staff member Dale Innis write enthusiastically on his own homegrown personal blog that all the cool kids are going to go to Zindra -- that it's not going to be about cybersex, but about fun hang-outs with really interesting and smart people.
See, this is how it works. With warm-to-smarmy personalized testimonials, Dale has let us know just how *fun* Zindra is. Why, he flies there and finds people he hasn't seen in ages. Old dusty cards on the friend's list - springing to life! And see, the adult grid is just going to be the place where the right-thinking and hip cats go just not to be hassled and abuse-reported -- as they might be by tiny minds on the mature parts of the grid. So, even if they aren't into cybersex (married-in-RL Dale Innis wouldn't be, for example), they just want to be in a place where they don't have to worry if they ever rez the casual dick or bare breast in public or make a ribald joke. Adults, you know. Cool kids -- but adults!
And of course, the child avatars will be there roaming around too, so it will be a perfectly non-sexualized family picnic -- which of course is as it should be with the diversity and robustness and just sheer richness of Second Life and its really bright and creative avatars in Dale's Plurk list.
His blog is wittily titled in Lewis PR hip style, "Loving What's Bad". And he writes with a wink:
"So I visited an area that I would rather didn’t exist, that has ordinary land and some useless-eyecandy builds. And I loved pretty much every second of it. :)"
It's terrible to have to keep returning to this topic. It's not my topic. I'm not a religious right crusader. I'm not a member of Focus on the Family. I'm not interested in having Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour -- in between His other very busy moments running the universe and stuff lol. Religious crusades aren't for me. I'm just a normal ordinary liberal person who wishes to take a moral stand. That's all.
And I've been guided in my thinking about this by two other ordinary moral liberal people who have said very quiet and simple things on this topic that really summarize the issue. When all the forums are raging that Rep. Kirk or the religious right or the Australian government's conservatives or Prokofy are to blame for the adult continent or new restrictions or banishment of "ageplay," and claiming that it's some sort of religious crusade that is "taking everyone's fun away," the person who said it best was Adri, some years ago, when she said "Why can't we say the pedophiles are responsible?" They are responsible for people having to make policies and laws to try to protect children. That's all. They are responsible. That's why action had to be taken.
And when others came forward and said, oh, but it's only pixels, it's only virtual, it's not real, it's all adults, and why, women who were victims of child abuse even find it therapeutic to re-enact scenes of sexual abuse, it was Ace who came forward and said, simply, "What's in it for daddy?" Someone who is a victim re-enacting their victimization could in theory be reliving something to exchange their victimhood for a transformation of empowerment (I don't buy that scenario, frankly, but that's the claim). So...what's in it for someone who has to relive the criminality of victimizing someone? What could be therapeutic in that? Indeed.
So those two axioms lead me to take a simple stance in support of the Lindens' own policy and EU law banning the simulation of child pornography even by adults with child avatars. Full stop. It's all pretty simple. The banging on the adult grid by some child avatars is merely the "ageplay" lobby and its cohorts among the "useful idiots" and "fellow travellers" around the agenda of this lobby who are trying to erode this simple distinction.
I don't feel it is crusading to simply ask the Lindens to adhere to the TOS and EU law. I don't think if this case came to a court of law in the U.S. that it might not wind up with something like EU law. The move by the Australian government gives people pause. The move of Craigslist, under pressure from the states attorneys general to segregate and police better the escort ads gives people pause. The move of Squidoo, such as it is, by the influential totalitarian Seth Godin, to completely remove X-rated material from his website because it simply doesn't pay and only produces empty content-free traffic that doesn't engage and pay off ultimately -- gives people pause. Lots of pause. And of course there's a concerted minority still lobbying for the right to have simulation of child rape as a freedom, otherwise the freedom of art in general might suffer. Naturally, I'm reminded of Dostoyevsky's question about the revolution that made even one child shed a tear, and whether it was worth it.
I'm not on a crusade. I'm not interested in flying around in world finding child avatars. People IM me more and more with "evidence" of these avatars and want me to "do something". I tell them to pull down their AR, tell the Lindens, and leave me alone as I don't crusade for other people's cases. I get hate mail, I get nasty and vicious sexual harassment IMs. I get people trying to play some stupid game on me by appearing in a day old child avatar and asking me if I would like to buy a bed from said child avatar (rolls eyes). And so on. Merely because I simply took a moral stance on this, that most people share, even if they are afraid to express it because they don't want to be bullied like I'm bullied inworld.
I get people IMing me and trying to convince me that they have law, philosophy, or science on their side to justify the right to child pornography. Huh? They might take a sneering and hostile bash on me; or they might feign innocent concern about a terrible misreading they think I and others are making.
But, the Linden TOS is clear -- and it's clear it should be applied to Zindra. (Ask your doctor if Zindra is right for you. Some patients complain of instant death.)
Here's the latest in one of these "ageplay" apologists banging on me -- I think you'll agree how creepy it is, and I think you will join me in asking, with an eyeroll of 360 degrees, just "what's in it for daddy" on this one.
Btw, it helps to Google the doctor in question; he is famous for having uncovered a case of a forced transgender by parents and doctors; that is often cited to help bolster the other thesis claim about the "therapeutic use of child pornography to stop child predators" (sic !) although of course it's unrelated. This paper is widely memed on pro-pedophile sites and extremist nihilist sites that want to use this as a wedge issue to fight what they see as an oppressive religious right. His paper is also 10 years out of date, citing many works that were even more dated from before there even was an Internet; the claim that he makes in his paper isn't summarized by the quote pulled out of context here. This kind of Internet meming by people who troll around in search of Google matches to their pet search terms is similar to the crazy stuff you get from pagans and atheists who try to use that piracy treaty of past ages as "documentary proof" that the U.S. is "not a religious country" -- it's on par with the 911 Truth Commission nutters.
Years ago, I sat in a lecture hall listening to a certain Prof. J.C. Cameron expound on a concept called "cluster thinking". As this was the late 1970s before the Internet, he wasn't using it n the way it is used nowadays by Connectivists or by people doing that awful stuff called "mind-mapping", or studying pagan rituals about thinking clustered around one image -- no, that wasn't it.
What he talked about was the tendency of people to form opinions that always appeared in a bound cluster -- and how these clusters tended to reinforce each other. For example, if you opposed abortion, you would generally support the death penalty, and support gun ownership and possible some foreign war. like Vietnam. If you supported abortion rights, you would generally oppose the death penalty, advocate gun control, and urge peace instead of war. And so on.
It would be rare to find people then who would oppose abortion, but also oppose the death penalty -- but you could find them, say, some Catholic liberal group in Pennsylvania. So you would study groups and organizations and see how often people came as a "package". They might think of themselves as unique, but in fact they predictably thought in clusters that fit a kind of community of conformity. So then the task was to find what universality they would be invoking that would be the overarching theme that would explain their seeming hypocrisy. Why would people opposed to abortion support the death penalty? Jokes would be made about the Republicans' "catch and release" program -- they'd oppose abortion for some poor black woman having a baby she couldn't afford as a single mother, yet they'd be happy to send her son to the electric chair 21 years later if he grew up to be a felon. How could that be? Because such conservatives had a notion that privileged the sanctity of human life as an individual even before birth, yet also privileged the sanctity of the state when it came to preserving order to enable other individuals to enjoy their freedoms. The state could be sanctioned to kill, where doctors couldn't, because the state was conceded a necessary function -- deterring serious crime with lethal punishment.
By the same token, anyone who clustered in the other direction could be considered to accept the killing of an unborn baby in the name of individual personal freedom for the mother, but oppose the death penalty even for a convicted murderer because the state was seen as something suspect, discredited, perhaps wrong in its evidence, and therefore not to be accorded such great power. If anything, what both these opposite clusters had were similar valuations of abstraction conceptions that led to beliefs about individual freedom and the need for order -- in one case, freedom for the baby versus freedom for the mother; in the other case, the state's need to preserve order against criminals and the individual's need to prevent the state from disrupting order by overreaching its powers. In fact, the two groups shared, in one sense, similar values -- individualism, order, restraints for the sake of a higher order -- but wanted to apply them to different places in the equation. Like many controversies, the debates about "pro-choice/abortion" or "war/peace" or "death penalty/life imprisonment" all come down to a pivot concept: when one set of rights or values conflict with another set of values, or when the same concept, applied to different situations, puts them at odds.
Somebody who both opposed the death penalty and abortion both would be cast then as someone for whom the sanctity of life had to be kept at all ends of the spectrum, and the issue wasn't then the state, but life. Or, you could find someone with the position like Maggie Darwin has. Ordinarily, liberals and lefties who support gay rights are against gun-toting Republicans and Bible-thumpers who advocate gun rights. She turns the table on them by advocating the Pink Pistols concept of having gays pack pistols to protect themselves against anti-gay violence. So in that sense, she is like the person against abortion and against the death penalty crossing the usual cluster lines; she is for gay rights but not for abolishing guns when the issue involves protecting gays -- and crosses several clusters there.
Thus you can find variations of American groupings -- some people might oppose a war because they are for pacifism and they also drink green tea and meditate and refuse to wear furs; others might oppose a war because they are isolationists, want budgets to be spent at home, and drink Budweiser and bowl. The popularity of questionnaires and surveys determining your political views on the Internet relies on the usual cluster thinking; the popularity of the game Jennifer Government also relies on funny outcomes to cluster thinking -- or forced breaking-up of cluster thinking...I just started it again because it's always hilarious.
I first noticed what I have come to think of as the nasty insolent and maliciously gleeful spirit of political campaigns with Bush I, I think, and then Bush 2. I can't pin it to a certain year, but I do think of it in my mind as related to the chicken campaign. This involved people all over the place, at every whistle-stop of the Bush campaign, appearing in giant chicken costumes that they would rent or make. The purpose of this chicken meme was to blast Bush for refusing to debate Kerry in Iowa. Of course, when Obama refused to debate Clinton or McCain in this or that state, nobody came wearing a chicken outfit. Instead, they would do all kinds of different hateful videos, like the one showing a male midget in drag as Hillary doing the macarena and lots more youtubes like that.
The people doing the chicken routine -- and they kept it going for ages -- thought they were terribly clever, but they also just seemed juvenile -- it was like a male frat prank. The spirit of the chicken ridicule -- something that was in part grassroots and homegrown, but in part paid-for and scripted -- continued in other forms in the Obama vs. Clinton campaigns, but never as chickens again to my knowledge. Now you didn't have to raise $135 to don a hot and sweaty chicken outfit; you could make a YouTube. Andrew Keen was right to flag the fact that quite a few of these popular YouTubes that seemed "from the masses" and "amateur" were in fact clever PR campaigns paid for by political groups.
The nastiness of the youtubes, blogs, and twitters was just a tide of obnoxiousness and even filth. It was a huge turn off to people like me of an older generation that are more rapidly wearied of Internet Insolence and the valleywag.com or gawker.com ethos. It was never persuasive. We were supposed to hate Hillary or think she was fake because she cried. Or we were not supposed to notice that Obama had waffled while brushing away reporters telling them he was busy eating waffles. There were endless subjects for ridicule, malicious glee, hatred, even sinister stalking. Some of it bordered on crime or led to police action, like the breaking into Sarah Palin's email. The vicious hatred of Palin is really something to see -- it's pathological. Sick. The scandal around David Letterman insulting Palin's daughter, the hysteria that Olive Garden might pull their advertising because of his cynical insolence; his eventual apology -- well, it was just like a Second Life forums drama.
It used to be insecure middleaged men or unemployed or unemployable young geeks would sit around talking about baseball or computers or in some cases, if they were perhaps a bit more urban and intellectual, talk about books or movies. At some point, they all began abandoning those passtimes or intellectual pursuits, and took on obsessing with evil glee and hate about various political targets, that were set up each morning by whatever blog was taking the lead, sometimes scripted from central command in a party or PAC or politicized NGO. We all had to hate on Palin. We all had to call for the impeachment of that woman congressmen whose name escapes me now who didn't do the right thing on hate crimes legislation. When a guard was tragically shot by a loon at the Holocaust Museum, we were supposed to now obsess on our blogs and tweets about how the right was now becoming a violent threatening backlash force in Amerika, and listen to wildly false Youtubes by snotty tekkies claiming that Mrs. Cheney was whitewashing murder by simply pointing out that one loon did not constitute proof that there was some giant violent backlash from conservatives about to wash over the country. Of course the NY Times columnists fanned this, the blogs fanned this, and it's almost impossible to have any coherent discussion. Of course we had all been told that we could never, ever in our lives associate a loon like William Ayers with Obama, just because he knew him slightly, and that extremist bombers in a friendship list didn't make Obama an extremist, and we were supposed to just accept that Ayers was for education.
And today it's Sen. Sandford. I never focused on this senator from South Carolina, who apparently lied that he was hiking on the Appalachian trail and in fact ran off to Argentina to have an affair behind his wife's back. This family drama, and lack of transparency about where a public representative was located and his even lying about it didn't end there, because the hate machine had to crank up in way high gear. All the influencers and A-listers and power brokers swung into action. Mitch Kapor was microblogging to Twitter audiences with snide and chuckling remarks giving the kill signal to the masses. On facebook, I saw my lefty friends all salivating on cue -- joking about "hiking the Appalachian" or sneering with adrenalin-pumped outrage about "hypocrisy".
I tried to think what had cranked up the hate this time about this particular guy, as I hadn't remembered him to be associated with anything causing such Twitter-hate. I tried my usual method to figure out where the scandals lie by Googling his name with terms like "socialism" and "Iraq" and "gay rights" -- and sure enough, I found out this fellow opposed gay marriage.
That is why he had to die.
So, in the vengeful minds of those fighting for gay rights by ridicule and harassment (which kinds of undoes their point, but that doesn't stop them), Sandford was hypocritical having an affair because...let's see if we can parse this...because if he were for the sanctity of marriage, and felt it had to be protected from gays, if he himself didn't respect the sanctity of marriage, then he was hypocritical.
Quite a cluster thinking exercise, that.
In fact, he could respect the sanctity of marriage, violate it himself and admit that he was in the wrong (he was remorseful at least for the cameras), still value the sanctity of marriage, but still not want gay marriage -- not because he felt it violated sanctity, but because he just had a visceral or religious belief about it.
And, of course, in the extremists' minds, that's not allowed. You can't have that position -- no one can.
That more than anything is the hallmark of our times -- the inability to concede that there are, if you will, parliamentary factions with different platforms of views and beliefs, and that's it's *ok* for this pluralism to exist, and for people to debate each other not to the death, but to political compromise.
I personally support gay marriage and never understand what all the fuss is about. I think the gay rights movement has done a terrible job of selling this normal idea in many places -- except...where they haven't, and it has gone through, not because of hate campaigns, but just because of positive, steady, campaigns for the rights aspect and the equality aspect of it rather than the hate.
When people see gays hating and screaming about hypocrisy and ridiculing and slamming someone caught in an affair, if they are against gay marriage, they are likely to gather new fodder for their antipathy just by seeing what antagonistic douches people are when they get like this on Twitter. People think of right-wingers seething with hate and frothing -- I guess they never read Twitter or blogs. There's a tide of ridicule, hate, and hysteria around this guy today and...why, again? What does having an extra-martial affair have to do with affairs of state? If he lied about his whereabouts, that's a problem for a public servant but...if we now find he lied to cover up an affair, aren't we glad that he wasn't, oh, in a casino, spending the state's budget instead of putting up a levee, or whatever it is he is supposed to do? I mean, as scandal material of real state important, it just doesn't fly.
"Nothing good ever comes out of South Carolina," says some douche -- and it's because they are seething with hate for this senator, for the conservatives who elect him, for the "good old boys," for the Christians -- hate, hate, hate, ridicule, ridicule, ridicule.
It's as if these methods are all that pass for politics these days. Nobody argues sensibly about why somebody's affair would matter, really. It's sad, it's not a good character reference, but at the end of the day, other congressmen's affairs ultimately don't get in the way of their staying in office, and life goes on.
Even Mitch Kapor (especially Mitch Kapor) seemed gleeful that they were publishing Sandford's emails to his girlfriend. Is that the attitude he takes to our IMs and private communications to each other in Second Life? Why is that ok? Some people question this.
Reading the search tag to see the hate-fest -- but what's interesting is how many ordinary people say they don't care, and find it troublesome that the media and the rabid lefties are now invading Sandford's privacy.
And Colbert and Stewart are cranking up to fill tilt. and it's all funny. But...why don't people discuss politics more normally any more? Why is the stuff of Mad Magazine or National Lampoon not just one sector of the media diet, but the constant 24/7 repast?
I guess we have to understand this sort of national preoccupation with prurience of obscure senators -- who Colbert said was like a vanilla envelope pinned to a beige wall, he was so dull -- with a kind of gigantic denial of the fact that more than 60 people were blown away in Baghdad, while we were supposed to be protecting them, and hundreds are being beaten and arrested in Tehran, where we really don't have a good idea of how to help them, and would likely only harm them if we got involved as a state power. So I guess that's how it works.
It's also a sad thing when people fall in love and it breaks up a marriage with kids, and sad that gay people can't get married just like everybody else.