Harvard Still Has a Sim in Second Life, But I'm Not Sure Even Harvard Remembers That

Harvard Berkman Second Life

When I noted the decline of "the most prominent and active presence of a major university in Second Life" on Monday, I added "active" as a qualifier because there's still some other prominent universities in SL, up to and including the most prominent in the entire world: Harvard University. Click here to visit Berkman, sponsored by Harvard's law college of the same name.

Thing is, you may be one of the few visitors in quite some time.

That wasn't always the case, because a decade ago, it was quite active, hosting events like "Avatar-based Marketing: What's the future of Real Life Companies Marketing to Second Life Avatars?", which spun out of an article from the Harvard Business Review. I was a panelist at that event, and another time, distinctly remember first meeting Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on the sim, as he was exploring SL as an avatar named Jimbo Berkman (yes).

The place is more or less empty now, except for a public sandbox, and to judge by the surroundings, hasn't been updated in many years. For instance, clicking a nearby bulletin board produces this notecard, dated 2011:

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Metaverse Art to Visit This Weekend: "The Pillars" Featuring Four Lonely Bots & Massive Stone Spires

The Pillars from Tizzy Canucci on Vimeo.

Click here until October to see "The Pillars: Four Moments of Contemplation" by Oberon Onmura in full 3D. Ms. Tizzy Canucci shot the machinima documentary above, with a description of what visitors are about to see:

"[A] forest of mountain pillars inhabited by four bots, each in his own soundscape. And then, something flickers.... Oberon is known for his minimalist yet evocative style, sometimes highly scripted, and other times (such as this) more metaphoric."

Caitlin Tobias took a visit too, and has this write-up on her blog:

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Peter Vos Museum Moves to New Location in Second Life

Peter Vos Museum Second Life

Click here to visit the new location of the Peter Vos museum in Second Life, which I mistakenly reported last week was defunct. Vos' real life son Sanders (the museum's creator and RL Karkassus in SL) just reached out to let me know it'd simply been moved to another location (the one linked above) to continue displaying the life works of the Netherlands' preeminent illustrator:

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This Weekend, Visit the Massive, Mythical, Murakami-Inspired Second Life Birthday Cakes of Ms. Mikati Slade

Mikati Slade SL Cake Murakami

Click here to visit the land of Japanese 3D pixel artist Mikati Slade, who became renowned for her pink and luminous and massive birthday cakes celebrating Second Life's yearly anniversary. Usually, the cakes are removed from the world after the anniversary, but for a limited time, they're available for photoshoots and gawking here.

Mikati won the auction for a New World Notes post in the Pulse fundraiser, but in all honesty, I've actually long been hoping to blog about her SL art, which is fantastic and dazzling and, she tells me, is inspired by famed, fellow Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

She traces her inspirations even farther back than that, to her parents -- and a fairly recent tragedy:

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Second Life Sim Inspired by Wyeth's "Christina's World"

SL Sim Wyeth Christina's World

Click here to visit a Second Life sim which just opened which was inspired by one the 20th century's most beloved paintings: "A little painting called 'Christina's World' sparked the idea for a full sim around the feel of those times," announces Goodie McCross, who took the photos above. The sim's creator is "Shelly70", who fittingly calls this experience "Gates of Melancholy".

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SL Explorations: Ms. Tobias Visits Trace Too, Too

You saw Kate Bergdorf's visit to the Trace Too in SL, now here's Caitlin Tobias' wanderings through the same virtual beach.

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Full-Scale Recreation of Casablanca Built in Second Life

Casablanca in SL

If you're a movie geek, you'll want to click here to visit a full-scale recreation of Casablanca from the classic film of the same name. Built by Sommer Shepherd and TracyLynne Carpenter, I gave it a quick visit last night and was seriously impressed by the level of detail and fidelity to the film's locations. I couldn't get into Rick's Place, which seems to be locked up at the moment. (Under curfew, like in the movie?) And as the above suggests, there's even the runway with a departing plane where you can reenact the most famous scene in cinema:

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The Stylishly Quirky Second Life House of an SL Fashionista

This is the Second Life house of Emiliana of Haha Die, and as befitting her hipster style, it's decidedly retro and quirky:

bang bang jumpolineeee

I love how it feels so lived-in and believable, while still maintaining a high level of wacky whimsy. (The rooftop trampoline, the swan boat, the whale.) It's a place you'd want to live in or at least visit in either SL or RL. Speaking of which, click here to visit in Second Life.

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In Wake of Tonight's Terrorist Attacks, Second Life's Paris Now Being Deluged by Supporters & Mourners

Second Life Paris Solidarity

"As an American I will stand with you French."

"I don't know French but my love to your country is all I can give from where I am."

"These terrorists have failed anyway, this will only make France stronger." 

These are some of the words currently being spoken in Second Life's virtual recreation of Paris, which is already filled to capacity by supporters and mourners in the wake of today's all too real terrorist attacks on the City of Lights. The sim is so crowded, I wasn't even able to get a decent photo of the scene, so I'm using this file photo above -- taken, ironically enough, when mourners gathered in SL Paris in the wake of January's Charlie Hebdo massacre. If you are able, I hope you are able to visit and offer your best wishes to the French now gathered there: Click here to visit virtual Paris.

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Basilique: A Second Life Sim With Great Ambient Sound

Basilique is a well-known Second Life sim with a secret weapon: ambient sound embedded everywhere. Watch this video to see (and hear!) what I mean. Created by Canary Beck, a sometime NWN contributor, ambient sound is not just a side benefit. "It makes a massive difference," says Canary, in our conversation on Monday, "and many visitors comment on how realistic it all feels, sometimes mentioning the sound specifically."

Click here to visit, and hear Basilique in person. And click below, to read Canary's thoughts on creating Basilique:

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