Who said Second Life isn’t useful?

If you go to this link: Ant Simulation in Second Life, you will be able to see a video of "a simulation of how ants find food, leave a pheromone trail for recruiting and occasionally run into dead ends". According to the poster, Brady Forrest of O’Reilly Radar, the video shows what you can do with Second Life’s "scripting language and avatar creation tools".

Now I have not watched the video, but I’ve seen plenty of such simulations and animations in regular boring old life. So I wonder why the Second Life aspect is a killer app (or even a killer ant, groan) here? Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Second Life detractor by any means, I am aware of its great educational and innovative potential as well as it being a place popular with gamers for all kinds of frivolous pursuits. But I am genuinely puzzled as to why this video is better in a virtual world than in our world. Whatever, it is probably a fun video to watch if you like watching videos of ants.

Charles Darwin and Typo

Link: Chark Blog – Darwin.

A quotation from Charles Darwin: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.’

Richard Charkin writes: "One of the good things about working on this blog is that I’ve made acquaintances through it. I was waiting for a lift in Sydney earlier this year and a guy in jogging kit came up to me to ask whether I was the Richard Charkin who blogs. Similarly in New York recently. But even better is that people send me books from time to time just out of friendliness, I think. This arrived from the author, David Silverman. The book, Typo, is published by Soft Skull Press, an independent house in Brooklyn. Its subject matter is unpromising – 350 pages about a typesetting company going bust. It is absolutely brilliant. Everyone in the publishing business should read it and most people in any sort of business should too. It’s currently at number 51754 at Amazon.com and 241540 at Amazon.co.uk. Do yourself a favour and read it. Charles Darwin would have approved."

Celebrity values

Some more from The Week (UK edition):

John Travolta has recalled the moment that revived his ailing career: dancing with Princess Diana at the White House. In 1985, the star of Saturday Night Fever was sliding into obscurity. But when Diana asked him, via Nancy Reagan, for a dance, the eyes of the world were back on him. "Suddenly I was the only thing that mattered in America to Diana, and I was reborn", he told the daily mirror. "I was like ‘Wow! I matter to someone again.’ It was a wonderfully special moment of her fulfilling a dream and giving me a new value. I felt like a frog that had been turned into a prince."

For Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, one private jet is simply not enough, says The Sunday Times. Until recently, Cruise…..has insisted on personally flying his wife to and from work — a 1,500-mile journey from Beverly Hills to Louisiana, where she is filming a new comedy. "It’s like a bus, only quicker," says Holmes. Now he has bought in a second jet, for Holmes to use if he is away.

Oscar Wilde is quoted in the same issue: "give a man a mask, and he will tell you the truth".

Literary politicians

Via The Week (UK edition, as is evident from the extract below):

Politicians don’t tend to be novel readers, or writers, Disraeli apart. Better, like Roy Jenkins and William Hague, to stick to political biography, which they’re rather good at. Politicians aren’t really interested in the human condition, apart from the condition of one human — themselves. So when they turn their hand to fiction, the results are often startling. Douglas Hurd was so out of touch in his thriller The Shape of Ice that he called the remote control "the television commander".

Harry Mount, The Daily Telegraph.