I was recently discussing the mainstream media's love affair with Second Life, and how the bloom appears to be off the rose. The Denver Westword News recently followed around a Denver University 'media specialist' who is working on SciLands, where NASA the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other scientific groups have a virtual outpost; while Jeff Corbin, the 'media specialist,' and other academics are practically beside themselves with the potentials for nuclear research in Second Life, the other side is presented:
Now others at [Denver University]seem to be paying attention. "Can you imagine if we really succeed, if we get twenty students into this laboratory to do physics experiments?" says Hill excitedly. "Putting them into a nuclear control room and letting them do things and destroy things and not letting them get hurt? Think of what this means. Imagine how powerful this can be for education."
But not everyone was thrilled when the story hit the online newspaper Inside Higher Ed last year. "Second Life isn't stable enough to test something that important," one commenter wrote. "Why not make a program that will actually simulate that properly? Second Life doesn't even stand up to normal 'game' quality. It can't even properly simulate a car."
Zing! The accessibility of Second Life is cited as a reason institutions are having 'notable' results with their virtual counterparts, but I'd be curious to know how 'notable' is being defined.
With help from the feds, a Denver scientist helps Second Life go nuclear [Denver Westword News via TerraNova]