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Dallas Gets a (Second) Life

The virtual Girl on Top takes a virtual gander at the virtual UTD art show inside SecondLife. That's virtually awesome.

I'm either really, really on top of things, or really, really behind. I never can tell. I'm just a reporter, though. It's not like concerning myself with such things is actually my job. Puh-shaw. So, depending on your personal level of nerdosity, I'm either a ground-breaking tech whiz who opened your eyes to SecondLife, the expansive virtual world I wrote about in Girl On Top a couple weeks ago, or a lamex0r n00b who should have been wandering around its virtual islands years ago. In my column, I got my virtual booty-dance on, roamed a virtual sex farm and lamented the lack of Dallas-themed outposts in-world.

But Dallas is underrepresented no more. Somebody at the University of Texas at Dallas must have heard my call. Or, more likely, I just happened to beat them to press by a couple of weeks. Since my column ran, Dallas' SecondLife footprint went from sparse -- a few boxy pieces of virtual furniture and some posters set-up at UTD's Arts and Technology headquarters in-world -- to a full-on UTD SecondLife island launched yesterday.

I followed the SLurl (SecondLife URL -- automatically teleports you to a particular location in SL straight from your Web browser) to the UTD island and nosed around. The coolest thing I've ferretted out so far? An art installation by one "Selaras Partridge" featuring crazy moving paintings, all of which are available for purchase using Linden dollars, the SL currency. And the whole place is populated with tiny penguins. What is up with SL and penguins?

According to a press release sent to Unfair Park this week about UTD's new virtual space, the island includes "research areas, offices, a 'mixed reality' conference and learning center, student studio spaces and the first major university gallery in Second Life." I'm still flying around trying to find everything, and I encourage anyone else who doesn't feel bad about sucking up company bandwith to download SecondLife and take a look at what our bright young UTD-ers have created. --Andrea Grimes

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