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Eh. So I’m a banana.

I’ve been wearing this around Second Life for a while. It’s so me.

In SL, you can be anything you want to be. A dinosaur. A flower. An astronaut.

And seemingly 90% of players want to be slutty-looking girls with huge tits. Including the men.

It’s so depressing.

Anyhoo, it seemed like the right graphic to put next to this story from the excellent Watt’s Up With That blog. It’s a timely repost from a February article.

The Cliff’s Notes version: lots of foods are radioactive. Bananas are especially radioactive. Radioactive enough to set off the bomb-detection doo-dads at our ports. Radioactive enough to give you a measurable dose if you stand next to a crate of the treacherous yellow bastards.

So proponents of nuclear energy use the banana equivalent dose as a way of expressing the risk of various radiation exposures. How many bananas would you have to eat to get similarly irradiated?

We don’t have any numbers coming out of Japan yet (and when we do get them, I freely admit those numbers might be bad), but to use an example from Three Mile Island — after the accident, the NRC found traces of radioactive iodine in the milk. I’m sure it was a story at the time. That’s the kind of place you get radiation poisoning — not so much from breathing it, but the stuff gets in the air, gets in the grass, gets in the cow, gets in the milk.

So how much radiation was in the milk? You’d have to drink seventy-five twelve-ounce glasses of contaminated milk to equal the radiation dose from eating a single banana.

A little perspective from a giant animated bruised banana. Good weekend, all!

March 18, 2011 — 11:51 pm
Comments: 24

Aw, adorable stoat baby

My new all-singing, all-dancing, 64-bit butt kicker graphic computer has allowed me to revisit all kinds of funness. Like Second Life.

I opened an account at Second Life four years ago (long-time readers almost certainly will not remember Monkeyface McShavedperson). But my old computer and my busy life meant I didn’t spend much time at it.

So, take two. New computer, no life. Until I am clever enough to build my own avatar, I had to buy one. Closest I could get to a stoat was this here albino ferret. Close but not quite right.

Fortunately, I was able to upload some graphics that were a little more…me. Here’s my game face.

I’ve already made one girl scream. Yay!

Anyhow, that’s the signal characteristic of Second Life — users can make things. There’s a simple 3D builder program and scripting language built in, and you can upload images and textures (for a small fee). It’s lead to a thriving online economy in virtual objects. A sort of Market of Weirdness.

Of course, this also makes SL laggy and hinky. You have to stand in one place for a while before you’ve downloaded all the custom objects and textures and your surroundings settle down a little.

The real appeal? I take a sneaking pleasure overhearing conversations, especially between users who have voice enabled. It’s like the old days when the phone lines would go fuckup and you could listen to a mystery conversation between strangers miles away. I’m not proud of this.

Also, people seem to love to say “Stooooateeeee.” I am proud of this.

Oh, and no cracks about furries, m’kay? At least a few SL persons frequent this blog and they’ve been very kind to me (to them, a promise — I will never, ever wear my game face on the nice side of town).

Also, it’s in the back of my mind I might some day make my living crafting really good furry porn.

March 2, 2011 — 12:09 am
Comments: 22

Weasel’s happy funtime sack o’ crap links!


You ever get a stupid question stuck in your head and you can’t rest until you get the answer? Man, am I grateful for the Internet. I once haunted libraries and pestered librarians for my answers. Now Mister Google, he do it for me, from the comfort of my own nest of chewed paper.

The question was: what’s the longest anyone’s lived inside an iron lung? And the answer is: 57 years, assuming this lady is still alive. Woke up with polio one morning when she was three. 1950. Brrr.

There are forty people left who use iron lungs; she’s got a spare in the garage in case she needs the parts. They don’t make them any more.

Changing the subject, I totally don’t get this story from the Australian. It’s about how terrorists are operating in Second Life, blowing up pretend buildings and killing people. I understand how objects could be destroyed in SL, but killing people? There’s no dying in Second Life, is there?

They do have a point about laundering money through SL, since you can give money to other players, who then can trade online money for real-world money. But surely huge transactions would red-flag for somebody, somewhere. And the part about practicing for real-world terrorism is just silly; it’s not that realistic. You’d get better practice out of Castle Wolfenstein.

Vocabulary lesson from the Daily Mail: 1661. It’s a woman who looks sixteen from the back and sixty-one from the front. Taking care of yourself: good thing. Wearing tights and sparkly things and glommy jewelry past A Certain Age: not so good. I keep waiting for the Hillarys and Barbara Walterses of the world to give old broads with blond hair a bad name.

If the Daily Mail isn’t low rent enough for you, try the Providence rants & raves on craigslist. No post in particular; just jump in and sleaze. It’s a powerful demonstration of what happens when you give dumb people a platform and complete anonymity. I assume the rnr section is bad everywhere, but I’m confident Providentials are a special kind of stupid.

This guy offers a rich chunk of cartooning fun, melding LOLcats with old timey newpaper cartoons. He’s got the style down perfectly.

Best for last. I love this one. This guy took a text file with the words “this program does nothing at all” repeated several times, renamed it awardmestars.exe and uploaded it to a number of software download sites. He gave the ‘program’ this description:

This software does nothing. It doesn’t even run. It was created as an experiment to see how many shareware awards it got. See the results of the experiment at: www.successfulsoftware.net

Two weeks later, it’s gotten sixteen awards and recommendations. Worth reading the article, if you download stuff regularly.

And that’s all I got. It’s the weekend! Now we drink!

August 17, 2007 — 5:39 pm
Comments: 8

Wherein Weasel makes a fancy party hat

Sarah D. to the rescue. She teleported me out of the naughty scary place and into a community college for Second Life newbies. Here you can click on various kiosks and posters to download notecards explaining how to do stuff. There are live classes. Nobody is wearing exogenitals. It’s cool.

Then she took me to the closest sandbox. A sandbox is an area in which you may create and manipulate objects. She reached into her inventory, flung a ballpark frank on the ground, scaled it to the size of a sofa and sat demurely on the edge of it, typing explanations at me with hairy paws.

I should mention, communication is by ascii text (for now). When you hit the chat button and type, you hear clickity-clickity sounds and your avatar hands rise up and play air-keyboard. You look like the silly boo-boo you truly are. It’s hysterical.

Then my hour was up and I had to go.

Next afternoon, I went directly to the sandbox. Right click on the ground and choose “Create” to get the modeling menu. This resembles, not surprisingly, a cut-down version of an application like 3D Studio Max. You got your shape primitives (“prims” in SL-speak) — spheres, cubes, toruses, whatever — that you stick together and carve
away from and apply textures to in order to build stuff. There are many textures already in your library for free, or you can upload new ones of your own (for a $L fee). There are also particle systems and atmospherics (fire, water, smoke) and behaviors (scripts), but basics first!

First, I jammed a red sphere onto a marble cone and made a pretty party hat. Whee! I’m a beautiful fairy princess!

When I model something in Max, I typically see four windows simultaneously: my object from the front, the top, the side, and the camera’s point of view. Here, you have to pan your camera around continually to get the same 360º understanding. Working from the front, my hat appeared to be jammed firmly on my head, but the overhead view revealed that it was flying fifteen feet out in front of me. Mmm. Rookie mistake.

Next, I applied one of the textures I found in my inventory. It was called moss-something. It was a mostly alpha (i.e. transparent) rendering of some hanging Spanish-mossy stuff and, applied to my compound object, the red stayed red, the green stayed green and transparent transparent.

Neat. This was a jaunty, plumey effect. I look like Koo Koo the Bird Girl! Thus, delighted with myself, ended day 3.

Wednesday is, apparently, Retarded Day on Second Life. They do system overhauls on Wednesdays, after which nothing works for shit. Or so I gather from reading the angry comments on their blog. Never mind. My task today was a simple one: build a hat better suited to my dignity and station in life.

See you soon! Why? Because we like you!

March 8, 2007 — 2:14 pm
Comments: 9

On the grid, off the grid

I’m only allowing myself an hour a day on Second Life. I know my obsessiveness too well. Let’s not wake up that monster.

After I got dressed, I was whisked away to a place called Orientation Island. Unfortunate name; I wondered if I was being sent to take gay lessons. But no, it’s a series of twelve basic skill tutorials. You get a star for completing each one, after which, the instructions say, you are given a passport and allowed to wander freely around the world.

I got eleven stars, but it wouldn’t give me the twelfth. Flying. Yes, you can fly…very cool. But I flew through that stupid tutorial six times and it wouldn’t give me my goddamn star. “Stuck,” I thought. These programs do get stuck. Maybe if I asked it to teleport me home — wherever that is — and back again, it would reset itself.

Uh-oh. When I got home (where is that, anyway?), I did a search for “Orientation Island” to teleport back. It returned, like, a hundred of them. And I was refused permission to enter every one I tried. Did I have to find the particular Orientation Island I started on?

Just for shits, I tried going someplace totally different, at random, and it let me. I found myself standing in some kind of public square, empty but for me and a person with breasts and an enormous set of male genitalia worn on the outside of its pants. Golly, Toto. I don’t think we’re in the tutorial any more.

I’m free!

But I don’t have a passport.

Swell. I’m an undocumented avatar.

— 8:08 am
Comments: 1

Life sucks. May I have seconds?

I was a fool to think I could resist Second Life forever. I’m not made of stone.

I can’t remember when I first heard of Second Life. It bobbled to the surface most recently last month when John Edwards’ virtual campaign headquarters was vandalized by some merry anarchists (Their statement: “We simply did it for the lulz… The fact you were so bent out of shape to make a blog post on the OFFICIAL JOHN EDWARDS BLOG about how some people placed a bunch of shittingdicknipples on your lawn is mighty telling.”)

I’ve played MMORPG‘s before. In fact, I played them before they were massive. Electronic Arts had a very primitive online game platform in the early eighties — I forget what it was called — which included crude modular, build-yourself-yourself avatars.

The current crop are beautiful to look at, but the gameplay tends toward repetitive and boring. Especially if, like me, you don’t particularly want to interact with other people that much. I spent a lot of my Anarchy Online time running across the desert watching the sun rise over fantasy alien landscapes. Cool, but finitely interesting.

SL isn’t that sort of game. Aside from the ground under foot and the basic body shapes, every object there was created by its users. Clothes, buildings, furniture. These can be made, copied (or copy-protected), bought and sold in the local currency, and the local currency can be exchanged in both directions for US greenbacks (though how it goes from Linden dollars to realworld dollars, I have no idea via whatever credit/debit/PayPal you set up with them. Current exchange rate $L1,000 = $US4.04). And Linden Labs has wisely declared that all things created in-world are copyrighted by their creators.

There’s a basic built-in 3D modeler included, and a simple scripting language that goes with. So you can build physical objects and give them behaviors. Yeah, that’s what I’m after. A second life that’s identical to my first. Come home from a long day 3D modeling and Photoshopping and coding to an evening of the same.

I’m not being sarcastic. That sounds really fun.

Basic account is free (you have to pay money if you want to own land apparently, non-paying members can own land, but not on the mainland), so…here we go. Avatar creation first. Initial appearances are grouped in broad classes such as goths or nightclubbers, M and F. My first thought, naturally, was a furry…but then I thought, ugh. Furries. (I have since learned there are many on SL who wear animal costumes that aren’t furverts).

Physical appearances can be changed at any time, so it doesn’t really matter. It’s just fun to play with the buttons and knobs. I decided to start out as a small Japanese woman with no hair. I’m going for a “leave me the hell alone” look. In addition to broad body types and clothing, SL breaks physical features into a number of fine sub-categories that you can play with, too. Arch of the eyebrows, tip of the nose, length of the chin. I wanted something that says “I’m as sexless as the angels” (I really, really don’t like grownup games), so I twiddled the knobs until I realized I was the spitting image of a shaved Michael Jackson. That freaked me out, so I shifted male and bulged my jaw and forehead. Hootie-hoo, Monkeyface! Oh, well. I’ll fix it later.

So, behold! Monkeyface McShavedaperson! Looks like a gray, no? I’m pretty sure that tattoo on my arm says, “I’m a giant dweeb for getting mixed up in this.” Either that, or, “ow! Holy shit! Compound fracture of both arms!”

That’s not really my SL name. That, I’m not telling. I remember on the old EA site, the high experience players in the D&D section waited by the cave entrance to whale on newbies. No shittingdicknipples for this little weasel, thank you!

And thanks very much to Sarah D. for the hotdog ‘n’ stuff.

March 7, 2007 — 9:58 am
Comments: 7