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The Three Moon Series ~ Part I

“This girl was once visited by the Priest Kings, who had taken her aboard a heavenly vessel to the beautiful planet just like her home. She used to be a beautiful woman, wealthy, free willed and wise until a mishap struck her village when she was taken captive by huge men who seemed unworldly.


Today she drops down to the ground, chained and wounded on the soft grass beneath her heels. She has surrendered herself to the world of unworldly men towards a servitude for life. She has no mind of her own, she has to beg for every necessity and her own survival. She is taken by a Master of the land. She serves her Master during the day and at night when she is allowed to her kennels, she looks up to the sky through the only small window where she sees three moons, something like her home yet so much different from earth, her home” :Kajira

The photograph is taken by Hayden Cerise, slightly edited to make it PG rated from the site:

http://goreandanceblog.wordpress.com/artwriting/artworkphotography/gorean-life-as-seen-by-hayden-cerise/

Gor is a planet located somewhere in the Universe, just opposite of planet Earth. Like Earth has a satellite,the moon, it is said to have three satellites. The planet is beautiful with hard ground, soft green grass and a crystal clear water flowing around with untamed seas. Just like Earth. Although there is an existence of a  technology that is not yet familiar with Earth people, like the vessel which is used to travel across the Universe, yet they live like the historic Romans and Greeks of Earth in old rugged buildings with handmade tapestries. A lot of their livelihood is very similar to the Earth people. They tend the fields, harvest grains, milk bosks, verrs and other animals, cook, mine, make weapons and trade.

The photograph is taken from the community page of Second Life. The link to the City of Esalinus is http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Role-Play/City-of-Esalinus-Gorean-Roleplay/td-p/2046121

Gorean culture is based on the series of fictional novel written by John Norman. A few specifics about the author was written originally by Scott Sanford, which was unlinked to his site and updated by the staff at tLi. John Norman is the pen name of John Frederick Lange, Jr., Ph.D (June 3,931 till present). John Lange was born in Chicago Illinois, with two other siblings, David and Jennifer. He studied at University of Nebraska and later obtained his Ph.D from Princeton with a 149 page dissertation entitled, “In Defence of Ethical Naturalism: An examination of Certain Aspects of the Naturalistic Fallacy, With Particular Attention to the Logic of an Open Question Argument (Princeton University, 24-12, page 5636; order #AAI6401330)” He wrote many Gorean novels, Telnarian Histories trilogy and several other books. The list of books can be obtained from the following site. His works has been produced as a full length motion pictures and have sold millions of copies world wide in different languages. Although he has always tried to suppress his books and thoughts, the idea caught the cyber wind with mass appreciators and followers. More about John Norman can be searched on the web or wiki.

Gorean culture can be much related to John Cater, the movie or the Book series “War of Gods” by Lizzy Ford. The first book in the series, Damian’s Oracle was much like the story of a kajira (slave). The only difference would be a kajira is a being not human, stopped aging but not a vampire either. Those who have read or watched the movie would somewhat agree. There are many other novels and movies that would suffice with the idea of Gor. Until I started researching more, that I understood that this culture has been taken from our society and is a reflection of what we have.

Although some of us may be judgmental with the basic idea of slavery based on a science fictional novel. Yet if we look closely enough, we can see like all fiction, it is based on practicality. Suppose, on an isolated island, equal number of men and women are there and no outside factor has decided their rules or their ruler. What would happen? Given the human nature, some will try to dominate, some will submit. There would be a fight among the dominants and the one who wins would make the rule. Others would submit. The ones who disagree with the rules will be caste away.

Such idealistic situation can arise only in the books, that is in theory. If we look around, we deal with issues of other forms of slavery in our world every day. Although, it is said that slavery is a primitive thought, but is it true? Are we free willed? We submit to our boss at work, to our spouse at home, to our elders out of respect. Although it is not slavery, but it is also not free will. These few things are our service out of love and respect.

So, what happens when such relationships are exploited. Its not an alien motive, there are domestic violence on both men and women, women trafficking, prostitution, murders and other criminal activities. We deal with such extremities on the daily basis.

Is this what Gor is all about? Some of it is. Few may think contradictory. It is the most difficult spot that I have found myself ever, a culture that makes you ask question and ultimately you end up asking yourself doing justice with right and wrong. Like all societies there are all kinds of people, good and bad, even with the rules. The idea of slavery, just because one is woman, is the most offensive. This pushed me to plunge into their society, the Community of Gor.

Question 1) Why is Gor popular?

Question 2) Why is Gor hated?

Often Gor, is compared with the negativity of a being, the wild beast that lay under our skin which surfaces. However, the concept of Gor, is close but nothing as cruelty or criminal-ism. In this series, I will try my best to answer these questions put forth by readers. Meanwhile, a little of your view would help too on what do you think of Gorean culture?

 

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Celebrating 100 Years of Hope with RFL Christmas Expo

Irrespective of where you are around the globe, in our minds we all know that the holiday season has just begun. The symmetrical snow flakes falling on the Christmas tree reminds us that it is time for warm celebrations and to give gifts. Children wait eagerly for presents while elders wait for the family gatherings. Peace, white and warmth seem to surround us. One of Second Life’s ways of celebrating the lavish holiday season is with the Christmas Expo  supporting the Relay for Life.

What is Relay for Life?

It is a nationwide program supported by American Cancer Society. Around 4 million people have come forward to donate funds for the treatment of patients and continued research for a cure . The society gives awards to people who donate their support. Continue reading

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5, 2nd December 2013

1) Bitcoins gets a slap from The Guardian

Economics expert Phillip Inman gave Bitcoin a big thumbs down on The Guardian’s economics blog. The article criticizes how similar the process of acquiring the coins are to counterfeiting scams. He goes on to tell the story of James Howells, who accidentally threw out a hard drive containing 4 million pounds worth of Bitcoins. He says “If Howells had set up a printing press in his bedroom and run off with a whole bundle of banknotes, only to throw away the suitcase he stored them in, sympathy would evaporate”.
Bitcoins are peer-to-peer regulated, meaning it is worth as much as the community says it is worth. They are acquired by “miners,” special computer programs that generate the coins through advanced calculations without any work put in by humans. The owners of the miner then trade the coins for services or goods from other people who accept it as a currency.

2) Microsoft ad goes south

To advertise the newly released Xbox One, Microsoft decided to put out an ad campaign containing a “form letter” titled: “We got your back.”  Microsoft claimed the letter was for everyone, just as their console is supposed to be, but is that true?
The letter was clearly written from a male perspective, but that isn’t all. It also contained a lot of sexist slurs, such as “I know, I know. You’d rather knit than watch me slay zombies.”
Microsoft intended this letter to be sent by men to their female partners, but the link only leads to the official Xbox One website now. They have issued an apology, but still claim the letter is not sexist. Continue reading

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5 – 25/11-2013

1) Both Sony and Microsoft break milestone sales

Sony Playstation 4 launched the second week of November and the Microsoft Xbox One in the third week. Both consoles sold over one million in less than 24 hours of their respective launches. However, day-after-the-launch reports indicated that several of the Sony machines arrived in a broken or unplayable state. Microsoft has announced they held back a percentage of the manufactured machines in order to replace broken machines right away.

2) WinAmp may be sold or closed

AOL bought the media player and streaming software WinAmp in 1999. Along with the streaming server service Shoutcast, the top internet radio streamer, it has been the number one choice for many internet DJs over the years.
Last week, AOL announced they will close down WinAmp and Shoutcast, but then disclosed that they will possibly sell it to Microsoft.
If Microsoft buys the software, it may be integrated to the Xbox personal radio features for streaming music straight to or from your console.

3) Hammer remakes classic yeti film

Continue reading

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BURN2 SKIN BURN 2013

We just got the following press release from Burn 2:

BURN2 2013: CARGO CULT was a fantastic event, filled with the joy of Burning community and a fabulous Burn of the Man. But it’s NOT QUITE over til we have the SKIN BURN!

What is Skin Burn?

It’s bringing the community together again in a low­lag way to watch the Man Burn one more time. We attend in just our skins (system clothing optional). No scripts, no attachments, no HUDs, no AOs ­ just US! Wear creative colourful, glorious skins or just come as yourselves. Enjoy great tunes, an awesome Burn, and Burning with the community!

All this will happen on Saturday, the 9th of November at two times to accommodate most time zones: 9:00am SLT and 6:00pm SLT. The greeter area will be open for 2 hours before each Burn time. When you’ve de­scripted and detached, you will get a special group invite and the landmark to the Man Burn site. You can only access the playa if you are in that special group.
Please let us know when you have included us in your publications as we link back to online TV, magazine and blog posts at http://www.burn2.org/media_coverage and would love to include you! Just email communications@burn2.org a link to your content, and we will include it.

BURN2 is an extension of the Burning Man

festival and community into the world of Second

Life. It is an officially sanctioned Burning Man regional event, and the only virtual world event out of more than 100 real world Regional groups.
The BURN2 Team operates events year around, culminating in an annual major festival of community, art and fire in the fall ­ a virtual echo of Burning Man itself.
We’d like to encourage you to use the following labels and hashtags when you write about the event: Burn2, #burn2 .

We will promote those tags to make it easier for people to find your content.
Want more information? Check out these resources:

Website: http://burn2.org

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/burn2/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/

BURN_two Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BURN2BURNERS

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Burn2.SL/

Regional Page: http://regionals.burningman.com/regionals/cyberspace/second­life/

Contact people: communications@burn2.org

Steering Committee: steering@burn2.org

BURNING MAN Regional Contact: secondlife@burningman.com

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Virtual Ryukyu: A Maine Man’s Dream

Years ago we wrote about Shuri Castle Gardens, a virtual replica of Okinawa’s Shuri Castle. Now three years on we revisit the residents of Shuri to find that they have changed completely. Going under the name of Virtual Ryukyu, they have now built a community based around the culture the Ryukyu Kingdom of the 1400s.

Originally  Richard Lavasser, known in the virtual world as his alias Inuyasha Meiji,  brought Shuri Castle to virtual life through a beneficiary in 2005. It was built on the mainland sim of Butler, and began attracting virtual residents interested in Japanese history. Shuri Castle continued to grow until 2010, The current builder Angela Beaman, known as Silverfox Rainbow,  joined  Lavasser as assistant builder in 2007.

She states: ” I came to Butler in 2006/2007 to help Inu after he was offered extra land for the sim. We became work partners, learning from each other. When the sim closed we were researching the history of the Ryukyu Islands. We decided that we wanted to make an area dedicated to the Ryukyuian culture which was very different from mainland Japan. “

Since the closing of the sim Butler, Virtual Ryukyu has called several sims home, including Pinehouse, Sweet and finally The Northern Forest, they even collaborated with Second Life’s Little Yoshiwara, another Japanese Roleplay sim. Continue reading

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Burn2 – Burning Man in Second Life

A while back we talked about Burning Man and the coming event Burn2. This weekend it is time to start the celebrations! On Saturday October 19 the sims will open and the organizers promises the closest thing you can get to Burning Man without physically being there.

To help you out at the festival, there are several “rangers”. A ranger is the ones that help the builders get settled at their plots, helping out with issues that might occur and settle disagreements as well as helping the guests to have the best time of their lives. Each of the 30 rangers has gone through between three and five weeks of training and many of them have been around for over five years. One such ranger is Gemma, who have been a ranger for 6 years.  Continue reading

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The Haunting Of Second Life Continues: The Shadow House

It’s Halloween once again and the haunts that occur in the virtual world of  Second Life have returned. It was almost a year ago that we gave you a taste of the chilling, twisted and horrific locations of these disturbances and this year it continues. We will begin with the Shadow House

The demon Yuumei is terrorizing the poor villagers of Touryuumon, to punish them for their insolence, he takes their village and replaces it with the Shadow House, a haunted ground on which none of the villagers would dare to tread. The villages cry out for hero to save them from Yuumei’s punishment.

Well, Yuumei seems to have his hand full playing Realtor, demons these days…

I heard he was a powerful demon once, dealing in souls. I guess the recession is hard on every one now a days.

So do you have what it takes to face Yuumei?

If so visit the Shadow House.

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5

5) Valve delivers the next generation of controllers

Valve have recently began the beta process for their first dip into the hardware industry, the SteamController. This new controller enables you to play your Steam games directly on your TV and has a range of unique features developed from years of user input gathering. Instead of the usual joypads, SteamController has two haptic track pads. This allows for much more control than joypads or buttons could ever achieve. The control is also made to be “hacked”, bringing the filosophy of user customization out to the hardware market. You can sign up for the SteamController Beta for free at store.steampowered.com/livingroom/steamcontroller

4) Stephen King returns to Overlook Hotel in new novel

Stephen King is releasing a new novel taking place some 40 years after the events of The Shining. Dan Torrence is now middle-aged and must save a young girl, who shares “the shining”, from quasi-imortal beings called True Knot. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King is available in your local book stores and online now.

3) China lifts game console ban

China instituted a ban on all video game consoles in 2000 out of fear that it is harmful for children. Though consoles have been obtainable through private retailers, it has been forbidden to sell them in China until now. The lift of the ban is part of  new free-trade zone in Shanghai and might have something to do with Microsofts joint venture with the Chinese television channel BesTV. Their aim is to create family friendly games and related services.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars and the San Francisco 49ers take over London’s Wembley Stadium

The Jacksonville Jaguars And the San Francisco 49ers set to go head to head as part of the NFL International Series. The game, which is set to take over London’s Wembley Stadium, will see the Jaguars host their first game in the series against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday October 27th at 5pm GMT or 9am PST.

1) Linden Lab introduces Facebook SLShare

Second Life creators Linden Lab have announced a new feature available to SL Residents. Second Life Share also known as SLShare gives you the ability to share pictures, locations and updates via Facebook without having to leave the virtual world. A walk through tutorial is now available on their Community Post.

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Burn2 and Burning Man – What is it all about?

Many of you have probably heard about Burning Man or Burn2 and I bet quite a few of you wonder what it really is. I know I did, so I did some research into this event.

Burning Man is an annual festival held in the Black Rock Desert, a 40 square mile area of dry mud surrounded by mountains. Due to the harsh environment, the participants needs to be able to survive. They need to know how to survive in a hot arid environment, they need enough water and food to survive, but Burning Man is not about survival.

Since it is a festival, they also need to make room in their packing for party food, drinks, music, entertainment and festive clothing. Many even make room for entire buildings, right there in their back packs.

The main event, as the title of the festival suggests, is the burning of a wooden figure in the shape of a man. This was started in 1986 when two men, Larry Harvey and Jerry James, brought an 8-foot statue of a man made out of scrap wood to a beach and set fire to it. It got the attention of people around them and a small crowd formed to watch the man burn. Out of nowhere, the crowd began to “give into the burning man”, one person performed an act of kindness towards the man, another picked up his guitar and made up a song on the spot about the fire and soon they had a party going around the burning man.

The next year, the duo repeated the burning on the same date as the year before and this time they brought a much larger wooden man to burn. The crowd was larger this time, but the response was the same. They repeated the event every year, same spot, same date and it became a cultural event. That didn’t last forever thou.

In 1990, the crowd reached several thousands of people and police was called to the beach because the beach could not hold all of them and it became a hazard. This is when Michael Michael and John Law stepped in. They rescued the statue from the San Francisco beach and hauled it to the Black Rock Desert. When people came up in their cars to join the festivities, Michael Michael drew a line in the sand and proclaimed that whoever crossed that line would be forever changed.

All of this helped form what is today the 10 principles of the Burning Man. These principles are known by all participants of the burning culture and adhered not only during the now weeklong event, but through their whole lives. Over 50 000 participants braves the desert each year to build a town around the Man and party for a week, yet the day after the festivities, not a speck of dust shows that anyone had been there.

The 10 Principles:
  1. Radical Inclusion
    Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
  2. Gifting
    Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
  3. Decommodification
    In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
  4. Radical Self-reliance
    Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
  5. Radical Self-expression
    Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
  6. Communal Effort
    Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
  7. Civic Responsibility
    We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
  8. Leaving No Trace
    Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
  9. Participation
    Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
  10. Immediacy
    Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

How does this translate into Burn2 and Second Life?

In 2003 a small corporation formed to create a virtual world. This corporation is today known as Linden Lab and the world is Second Life. Many of the “Lindens” (employees of Linden Lab) were Burning Man regulars, but the development of Second Life prevented them from going to the event. Phoenix Linden asked the Burning Man organizers for permission to recreate the events in a virtual format and they built a digital replica of the Man and “burned” it in Second Life.

Over the years, several different Lindens have helped facilitate Burn2, but in 2007 the whole company was too busy with new developments to take care of the event, so private interests took over from there. The new organizers had never been to a real burning and only had previous Burn2’s to go by along with the principles, so they decided to stick as close to the 10 principles as they could.

Concerns arose about how the events would be portrayed in the future and how well the principles would hold without official backing, so Everett Linden, the head of Community Initiatives and experienced burner, hired Dusty Udal, one of the worlds most experienced burners, to make sure the events held true to the real Burning Man.

In 2010 Linden Lab suffered from some downsizing and the partnership between Linden Lab and Burning Man was dissolved, but on friendly terms. From that moment and still today, Burn2 has been in the care of the real life Burning Man organizers, to ensure that the events mirrors those of the real life burnings as closely as possible.

These organisational shifts also mirrors the real life shifts, as Burning Man underwent similar organisational shifts in its youth, until it found the stable organization it has today.

Burn2 will be held from October 19th to October 27th this year. If you are interested about the events or would like to participate, you can check out their website for more information.