Archive for October 2008

Making Plants

October 13, 2008

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.

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About Biome

October 10, 2008

Biome actually consists of two islands in the virtual world Second Life, Biome and Biome II.  Owned by Northern Michigan University, they are maintained by Dr. Carolyn Lowe of the NMU School of Education.  Dr. Lowe is known by the name Clowey Greenwood in Second Life.  Please call me Clowey “in world”.  Sometimes I am a human-appearing avatar but don’t be surprised if I appear as a tiny snow leopard.  Biome and Biome II are dedicated to the study of biodiveristy, classification of living things, ecology and bioenergetics.

Found on the island of Biome are the Faculty and Student Center, a Learning Center with classrooms and Clowey’s office, a comfortable foyer, and the entrance to the enormous Tree of Life which will house displays and activities pertaining to the various groups or kingdoms of life.  A 30 meter high microscope looks down on human-size microorganisms in a 10 meter diameter drop of pond water.  In the Butterfly Pavilion you can look at electron micrographs of butterfly wings and then enjoy a leisurely visit to the pavilion where butterflies flutter about you.  You may want to study the idea of a closed system “pop-bottle” habitat or tour a coral reef with many of the groups of the animal kingdom.  And, of course, there is the famous Obstacle Course for new residents (or old who want to brush up on SL skills) to practice their walking, flying, using the camera, searching for groups and making notecards.  Planned are interactive exhibits on food webs, photosynthesis and respiration.

Biome II is new (as of October 2008) and will be dedicated to ecosystems common in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Lake Superior shoreline.  Currently there is a wetland area and a rock-bottom stream.  A dune area is in the process of being developed.  There is a small mountain which will have rock out croppings of our famous UP rocks.  Mixed coniferous and deciduous forests will occupy the remainder of the area.

Welcome to the new Biome Blog!

October 10, 2008

In the past, Biome was sometimes mentioned in Clowey Greenwood’s Blog.  But, with the expansion of land, use, and content of these islands (Biome and Biome II) located in the SciLands Region of the virtual world Second Life, it seemed time to move on to its own blog. What’s new?  Well Biome has a new Student and Faculty Center which replaces the former treehouse lounge.  A large, comfy log cabin (very Yooper-ish), roaring fire, romping kitten and some free items upstairs along with links to new changing rooms, the center should be a popular place for NMU Students, Faculty and other guests to visit, hang out, or call home.