This week's Science News discusses several real scientific research projects inside Second Life. For example, Drexel University neurobiologist Corey Hart (no, not that
Corey Hart) is building a virtual frog to study the neural pathways involved in hopping. Meanwhile, Robert Amme, a physicist at the University of Denver, is modeling a nuclear reactor as a training tool. Indeed, many research institutions are leveraging the simple sim tools of SL to create immersive science learning experiences. From Science News:
“Early on, when SL really got going, it looked like it was going to be a huge playground,” says Amme. “I thought personally, who needs a second life unless you don’t have a first one?”
Although SL retains a large recreational component, with fantasy, racy nightclubs and sex, the science islands have distinguished themselves as places to connect with the “outside” world. Scientist-avatars guide students through formal university educational programs – such as the University of Denver’s master’s degree in environmental engineering – or create exhibits designed to demonstrate scientific principles. Navigational tools let users zoom in and around objects, making SL a convenient place to investigate phenomena that would otherwise be hard to visualize or understand. Avatars can, for example, initiate chemical reactions with a touch of their hand, watch a tsunami form or stroll through the internal structures of a cell.
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]