Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Visit to Kira Cafe

I really do need to blog more about some of the places and workshops I visit. One of my new places to visit is Kira Cafe sponsored by the Kira Institute. Kira Cafe is for discussion of science and more. As the institute's mission statement notes:

The Kira Institute's mission is to investigate distinct views of reality, taking off from one central question: “Starting with science, what else is true?

The Institute holds lots of workshops/discussions related to this theme. Some of them are ongoing. For example the other week I attended a really interesting one about the role of virtual environments in scientific visualization as part of an ongoing workshop called Relocatable Laboratories in the Metaverse (ReLaM). This workshop dealt with Open Sim and the Science Sim by Intel.

Today was a weekly science discussion called Nymf's Science Circle which was hosted by Darkeagle Darkstone (left), in real life a computer science instructor in a Californian community college. The discussion revolved around the theme of how virtual reality environments such as SL can help persons with disabilities. Quoting from the note card:

" There are people here, who in real life are strapped into wheelchairs. Here can the walk away from the isolation and prejudice the face in their day to day lives. Here they dance, fly, and mingle. Their bodies here are not ravaged and mangled by disease or genetics in the Virtual worlds. Their speech is not slurred or laborious; we accept them here like everyone else. We discover that they are valuable and treasured friends. "

I was particularly interested in discussion related to use of SL by persons with autism (called in the discussion autists)

Kira has a packed schedule of events and you can view them here. You can visit the Kira campus in Second Life at http://slurl.com/secondlife/BaikUn/234/95/251.

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