About Biome

More New Stuff on Biome

There’s been a lot going on over on Biome the last few days.  Some updates today the more in a day or two.  First of all, I updated all the pond scum critters.  besides adding rotifers (see previous post) and nematodes (which I improved), I added a generic ciliophora and updated all the organisms that were already there – Paramecium, Euglena, Spirogyra, Amoeba and Arcella.

Updated Pond Scum (can pond scum actually be updated???)

I also enlarged the water droplet and am switching things over to megaprims.  All the hype I heard a couple of years ago about megaprims causing problems either was just that – hype – or the problem has been solved.  Thank you SALT hud!!!






I also rebuilt the butterfly pavilion and the student center – updating textures on both. I have been working on the Protista room in the Tree of Life. Pictures of that will come later.

Updated version of the Student and Faculty Center on Biome

Oh, one more thing!  I am beautifying Biome – lusher, woodier, more ambience.  I’ve added more butterflies, flowers and fireflies.  I built sunbeams to add. I’m excited.


New Critters on Biome

Well, Biome has some new critters. I created two pond scum critters – a rotifer and a nematode.  The nematode still needs a lot of work and I might try my hand at sculpting it and a rotifer later but this works for now.

Biome's Rotifer








The sea snake is kind of creepy.  I used a random movement script for fish I got for free.  It really moves in a scary way and almost seems to seek out people.  But it does look pretty cool and now we have another reptile (besides the turtle).  I also have a frog in there.  I realize frogs don’t swim around coral reefs.  In fact, as far as I can find, no amphibians live in sea water.  Which kind of makes you wonder about that first amphibian.  It must have been in fresh or brackish water.

Sea Snake

The other organisms I made were some featherduster worms.  The annelida phylum hadn’t been represented and now they have! Yay!

Feather Duster Worms

Skoolaborator Day 1

Today I was admitted into the wonderful world of Skoolaborate.  This is an international group of middle and high school teachers and their students who are using a certain area of the Teen Second Life to create projects and curriculum.  I immediately met two other instructors, Elektra who is a languages teacher from the UK (and who is leaving today to take her students on a trip to Hungary), and Anna, an Italian woman living in Spain and helping Elektra with her students.  How wonderful it is that technology has allowed us to communicate this easily.

I was a little disappointed in the amount, or maybe the lack of amount, of interactive content.  Maybe I missed a lot of it.  I was just kind of roaming willy-nilly. And, since you can’t bring up a map navigation is a little more difficult. I will initially be working with a school in California to create a forensics science group.

I was also disappointed that I couldn’t find anything else to wear and no animation overrider (AO).  The newbie walk drives me crazy.  But all things in their time (I hope).  In the mean time I need to figure out a way to transfer what I can – stuff I’ve made – or recreate it, and learn to make at least clothing.  I never wanted to make hair but I might have to if this doesn’t get any better.

However, I am really excited to be there and I can hardly wait to get to meet the kids. Oh, my avatar there is CloweyNMUUS Skoolaborators.

Okay, I haven’t been updating but it’s on my list of things to do regularly. This last semester a group of grad students in a course called “Teaching Science in a Virtual World” learned to build, dink around with scripts, make a powerpoint presentation and create perspective lessons for kids. Unfortunately the plan to get them into the Teen Grid on NOAA’s island didn’t pan out so I purchased an island on the Reaction Grid (Lowelearning) and we met there. A few brought their own children in but we weren’t able to get classes in. Reaction Grid is all PG and it does not have the age restrictions that Second Life has. I hope to use it for other teachers who want to experiment with virtual worlds.

LoweLearning on Reaction Grid

This summer Biome II may turn into Mars. Or at least a sky platform above it. The graduate course, Fundamental Concepts in Science will be exploring the essential big-pictures concepts that are involved in the possibility of creating a colony on Mars. I’m still planning how this will pan out – maybe someone has ideas.

Then in the fall the Forest will be set up for point-quarter diversity indices.  I think it will be a good. It’s a great technique used by ecologists that is easily translated to older elementary kids.

Finally, I am waiting to get an avatar in the K-12 virtual environment Skoolaborate (http://skoolaborate.com). I hope to help teachers with their projects and work with kids.  Plus that will give me a unique opportunity to share with my graduate students how Second Life is being used in education. I’m excited.

I’ll be posting “office hours” where I’ll be at what time so you can find me.  I’ve been off and on but this will give some set times for me. I’ll be inworld other times but you can find me these times for sure.  For now I will be in Second Life on Thursdays from 8am SLT to 10am SLT.  I will also be inworld on Thursdays from 2pm SLT to 4pm SLT (as Clowey Greenwood).  IM me since I’m not sure exactly where I’ll be.  Once classes start later in the summer these times may have to change.

I will be in the Reaction Grid, on the island of Lowe learning on Thursdays from 11am SLT to 1pm SLT (as Clowey Greenwood).

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And it grows and grows…

There are more things to see on the TOL (Tree of Life).  I have added a slide show about birds in the animal room you will find interesting.  Incidentally I took the vast majority of the photos myself including the three you see here.  The conure is my pet Nurmi.

Bird Slide Show from the Tree of Life Animal Room

Bird Slide Show from the Tree of Life Animal Room

The plant room is coming along beautifully as you can see by the snapshots.  I will be adding some more informational items soon.  I also put in a couple of places to sit – one for regular, human-sized avatars, and another for tinies (like me in these pictures).

Biome's Tree of Life Plant room facing back

Biome's Tree of Life Plant room facing back

Biome's Tree of Life Plant room facing front

Biome's Tree of Life Plant room facing front

The Tree is Growing!

The Tree of Life now has an exciting animal room with information and lots of creatures to visit!  Come to the base of the tree of life and tp to the animal room.  More quizzes and information coming.  Also, the plant room will be ready soon and I have some volunteer experts working with me on other rooms.

Base of the Tree of Life:  http://slurl.com/secondlife/BIOME/70/140/54

Animal Room in the Tree of Life on Biome

Animal Room in the Tree of Life on Biome

Biomes Evolve again

Lots of news.  First of all the beautiful fall on Biome II is gone with the first snow we had here in the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan).  I am making trees from photo’s I took but, in the mean time, I am using some of those awful Linden trees that randomly seem to scrunch and shrink.  I find it really funny but particularly annoying that you go somewhere to get the special box of free trees and they are exactly the ones you already have in your library.  sometimes they even rename them just to fake you out.

Winter comes to Biome II

Winter comes to Biome II

On Biome I decided we needed a nice cozy foresty place to enjoy.  I added more trees included some oaks I made from sculpted parts and some nice seating around.

More forest comes to Biome

More forest comes to Biome

I also met an amateur mycologist, George Sporg, (George Sayers in real life) who is helping with our fungi room in the tree of life.  He has sent me some amazing photos and they will be a great addition.  The photo below is of one of the UP’s favorite fungi – a morel.   In his own words, “Here are a few pictures of the common yellow morel i.e. Morchella esculenta — It should be noted that this is a taxonomically troubled genus and depending on the company you keep referring you morels as such could spark a dangerous debate … usually the mushrooms eaten before anything like that takes place”.  I really appreciate the collaboration of people who have particular expertise or great ideas!

Common Morel

Common Morel (c) George Sayers 2008

Fall on Biome II and update on Biome

It’s fall on Biome II.  The leaves have changed and will soon be gone.  It won’t be long until the land will be covered with snow.

Fall on Biome II sim in Second Life

Fall on Biome II sim in Second Life

Squirrel in fall on Biome II

Squirrel in fall on Biome II

Squirrels are looking for acorns to hide and the woodpeckers are active – looking for those insects that will help them through the cold days.

Pileated woodpecker on Biome II

Pileated woodpecker on Biome II

Meanwhile I am looking for a more permanent source of funding so this amazing place can continue to grow.  Linden Labs kind of threw us a curve ball with a proposed very harsh change in pricing of Open Space lands (which Biome II is) but then backed down and made the proposition a little more reasonable.  The funding for Biome Ii is paid until August and it is my assumption given my last e-mail that no other charges will be added until then.

Making Plants

It has occurred to me that people make things out of “prims” for the most part.  As I look around myself I find circles, cubes, pyramids, spheres, tubes sometimes twisted or cut or stretched.  In other words SL is a recreation of “man’s” world.  But nature is not so simplistic.  While it is possible to make a bear or tree out of cubes and spheres and such, it never looks quite natural enough so people have created another way to make more natural-looking items – sculpties.  I have Blender -the open source program that is used by a number of people I know.  I haven’t had time yet to really explore it.

But to begin my design of natural things I decided to do a few very SL-ish plants.  But the plants I needed to do are not found in the Linden Library or, for that matter, anywhere on SL.  I needed specific plants from the Great Lakes region of the US, specifically the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior shore.  I started with a photo of a “sand cherry”, a native dune plant.  I found it takes a lot of time, patience and a fine hand to take out all that background junk and leave in all the leaves and flowers that are there.  Then , the image has to be saved correctly, uploaded, put on a prim and 3 or 4 of those prims assembled to give it a more-or-less 3D appearance.  Here is my first plant – the Sand Cherry.