Blood moon around the world

Posted by jerry on August 29th, 2007 — Posted in Journal

It was the first total lunar eclipse since 2000, and the Australian news reported it this way. There were spectacular photos (one of these days I really should get a digital SLR with a good zoom) from around the world – you can see some of them here


Blood moon run – lunar eclipse

Posted by jerry on August 28th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Motorcycling

Canberra Riders – a loose knit group of motorcycle riders – organised a Blood Moon run from Canberra to Lake George this evening (28 Aug) to observe the total lunar eclipse – only visible from certain parts of the world. The aim was to find a place fairly devoid of light pollution from the city, with a clear unobstructed eastern view. The lookout at Lake George, 32 km out of Canberra is just the spot.

The ride was advertised on several discussion lists and a total of 35 bikes set off from the Mobil Station in Cooyong St Canberra about 7.00pm.

Canberra Motorcycle Riders

We had a smooth run down Federal Highway and regrouped just past the roundabout at Watson. Then a gentle cruise down the highway as the bite out of the moon became larger. We stuck to the speed limit – this run being more about the fun of riding with such a large group, with a leader and tail-end-Charlie to keep it safe.

Suddenly the road was awash in flashing lights as everyone indicated and pulled over to the right lane and slowed to turn at the lookout.

The evening was quite mild and the weather perfect.

Using a canon Powershot A530 camera I managed to get some fairly grainy shots of the moon as the last light disappeared and the face turned rust red. I used a half-second exposure on 100 ISO, with the camera hand-held against the top-case of the motorbike. You can get info on the eclipse and how to photograph it from the ice-in-space site

lunar eclipse August 2007 lunar eclipse 28 Aug 2007

The Riders were friendly and there was a bit of interest in my antique Honda Bol d’Or CB900 – not least of which being that several had noticed my tail light wasn’t working – thanks guys 🙂

Luckily I had a torch and some red gaffa tape which got me home.

It was a great feeling to ride in a big group – and there were enough Ducatis to keep up a nice beat. After about an hour people started to drift off in ones and twos and I look forward to riding with them again – looks like it could be a regular outing for Wednesday nights 🙂

See you there – ride safe!


Sliterary Magazine – Literary stories from SecondLife

Posted by jerry on August 26th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

I was about to log out when I received an announcement of a literary group meeting hosted by Morrhys Graysmark and Ina Centaur of the biennial literary magazine Sliterary Stories of Fiction and Second Life. I arrived not long after the session started and was welcomed and invited to take a seat (with the choice of seat or mushroom to sit on – and I was warned that the mushrooms make one brood). I risked it anyhow. What followed was a spirited discussion on the kinds of literature being produced in SecondLife – ranging from romances to thrillers, poetry to dramatic scripts. There was discussion of the merits of linear and ‘choose your own adventure’-styles.

And like any serious literary group there were offers of collaboration and critique exchanges.


The three-person editorial board – which includes RL journalists – decides on the merits of submissions to be included (or rejected) and, unusually for SL, offers RL rates for SL fiction. The focus is on fiction themed on SecondLife or on the crossover between secondlife and real life. The fiction is then published both in-world and on the web with each edition attracting in the order of 1000 downloads from the website and about the same in SecondLife. So it has a good circulation for a literary magazine.

Many of the participants are published authors in their own right. And the quality of writing is excellent – the fiction of the metaverse!

Who knows? perhaps I’ll send in a piece to test the waters for a more extended piece of fiction – but the deadline is very soon. In any event I’m looking forward to seeing the next issue 🙂


On hearing yourself fly – mac audio and SecondLife

Posted by jerry on August 24th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Have you been having problems getting SecondLife sound into your mac? It may be your audio settings in the sound preferences.
The solution has been posted by Barry on the Global Media Initiative blog

– Open the program Audio MIDI Setup [it’s in the Utilities folder in Applications].
– Change the audio output from 96000 to 44100.
– Restart Second Life

And Voila! you can hear yourself fly (and talk and listen to the birds and waterfalls..)


Revisiting Wittgenstein

Posted by jerry on August 19th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Theory

I think it’s timely to revisit Wittgenstein – the early and the late – it terms of how do his views stand up in respect of new media and new media literacies.

“The world is all that is the case – the world is the totality of facts not of things”

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”

Here in the Tractatus, Wittgenstein is setting out an extension of the phenomenological understanding of the world – ie as it presents itself to us – as a function of concepts, perhaps not independent of ‘world stuff’, but constrained by our understanding of that which presents itself to our senses.

In the later Philosophical Investigations (16 years after the Tractatus) Wittgenstein extends his views to speak of language in context and of non-linguistic thought and raises the question of the possibility of a private language, or a pre-linguistic one. “If I draw a person what do I mean by it?” At what point is meaning present? and is ‘meaning’ the same as ‘thought’?”

At this point, Wittgenstein acknowledges that one can mean without verbal language – that even an air-drawing may signify a person, and so he continues to problematise aspects of language as only one of many signifying systems. Moreover he speaks of the problem of perception and that what may be intended may not be what is conveyed – for example by the ambiguous drawing of a duck-rabbit – sometimes seen as one or the other – often depending on context – ie if pictured with a field of rabbits we see a rabbit, but if in a pond of ducks we see the duck. So he is identifying the limits of language – notably that each person’s experience causes them to comprehend something a little different from the same utterance as that of another.

In this sense, Wittgenstein is also acknowledging Saussure’s view that the assignation of meaning to signs in language is arbitrary.

Perhaps this underlines the importance of even the limited gestures available in SecondLife and other virtual worlds.