06.05.18

Exploring The Depopulated Ruins Of ‘Second Life’

"Residents and businesses began fleeing for more popular social networks long ago. Vast acres of land are abandoned or sparsely populated by the few remaining diehard users. ... Digital worlds don't typically rot or become overgrown with foliage, after all. They exist for a time, and then someone shuts them down. Right now, Second Life resembles a city swiftly evacuated following a radioactive threat." Just seven months after The Atlantic ran a feature on the communities (notably the disabled) who are still thriving on the 15-year-old virtual-world platform, Joe Veix writes about how empty Second Life now appears compared to the days (a decade ago) when it had millions of users.

Two Ex-Trustees Of Berkshire Museum Slam Board’s Decision To Sell Art For Money

"Trustees allowed debate over the Berkshire Museum's financial challenges to snowball into an excessive art sale, ... as officials backed a costly shift to interactive exhibits based on thin evidence. Carol Riordan and Nancy Edman Feldman say that while the museum's money problems were real, the Pittsfield institution could have ensured its future with far less than the $55 million it is allowed to raise through sales [of art from its collection] under terms of an agreement with [Mass.] Attorney General Maura Healey."

How Weegee Changed ‘Dr. Strangelove’

It would seem odd enough that the photographer was on Stanley Kubrick's set at that point in his career. (Weegee had been working on three "Z-grade" movies just before.) But it turns out the two camera wizards knew each other from the beginning of Kubrick's career. Not only did Weegee take still photos of the 'Strangelove' film shoot, he had a huge effect on Peter Sellers's portrayal of the title character. (He also shot images of Kubrick's absolutely ridiculous original ending of the movie.)

What If Our First Encounter With Alien Life Was With Artificial Intelligence?

Encountering an alien AI would not only point to our own possible future, but also prompt a curious shift in our worldview. When Nicolaus Copernicus proposed in the 1500s that the Earth was not central in any way to the Universe, he set in motion the development of a critical scientific idea: that there is nothing cosmically special or significant about us. But meeting an ET-AI could turn that realisation on its head: if the only intelligence we meet is machine in nature, then we would be special, after all.

London Mayor Reveals Second Plan For £1.1 Billion Arts District At Olympic Park

"Featuring an outpost of the Victoria and Albert Museum, a Sadler's Wells dance theatre and a new home for the London College of Fashion, along with residential towers, the park's planned arts district, once known as Olympicopolis, in tune with [former mayor Boris] Johnson's penchant for ancient Greek, has been reborn as East Bank, with the addition of a new base for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and recording studios."