Saturday, January 25, 2014

Can I Find Someone in Second Life?

Antarctica is otherworldly, like nothing I've ever seen before. Stark, cold, beautiful desolation.

Mark Hoppus

          After several years of wandering and blogging about Second Life (SL), I’ve come to the conclusion that from all walks of life in Real Life (RL), people have come inworld to become avatars and do whatever it is that they do.  (Sometimes totally contrary to what they do in RL.  I wonder does anyone ever come inworld to become more conservative?)
          While one never knows another’s true identity inworld nor should they unless it is given voluntarily, I get the impression I’ve met technical geeks, writers, educators, librarians, artists, university students, homemakers, the curious, the unemployed, retirees, and many others.  In conversation with many of them, I’ve come to realize that I’ve met people from every continent but one. 
          That continent is Antarctica. 
          This has now become my quest (Yes, one among many as Significant Other reminds me.) inworld, to meet someone who is actually in Antarctica when we get together.  With this, I’ll have met someone from every continent.  (What can I tell you?  I’m easy to please.)
          Now, some may argue, like those who deny Pluto is a planet, that Antarctica is not a continent.  (Significant Other has asked, that for the record, Pluto is a planet and Antarctica is not a continent.)  I being the traditionalist that I am firmly believe that Antarctica is a continent and Pluto is a planet.  (Significant Other and I have learned a long time ago to reconcile our differences.  As long as I’m OK with being wrong, we have no issues.)
          Somewhere under all that ice is a big rock anchored to the bottom of the ocean.  (My apologies to geologists who may be cringing right about now.)  There is native life.  Maybe just some penguins and seals (Again apologies to any life forms that I may have omitted.) but they’re alive and they were born there.  There are human inhabitants.  Admittedly, SL probably has more on any given day than Antarctica does but they’re there.  Even if their survival depends on the navies and air forces of several large countries who may have ulterior motives (Don’t worry, I’m not going to start any conspiracy theories here.) they live and work there.
From my traffic analysis on Blogger, I get some very rough high level data on the geographic distribution of the readers of my blog.  (No need to have any privacy worries, very high level and I’d call it metadata except that term seems to have fallen out of fashion lately for reasons that I won’t go into here.)  North America, Europe, and Australasia typically have the most readers followed by Asia, South America, and Africa in that order.  But, never once have I seen anyone drop in from the South Pole.
Why is that?
I watch enough shows on the National Geographic channel to know that the inhabitants there aren’t exactly living in igloos chewing on seal meat to survive.  In fact, their accommodations look better than some RL hotels former employers have dispatched me to. 
          Watching the recent world news about the Russian exploration ship trapped in the pack ice off the coast of Antarctica, I know they have broadband access (and pretty good bandwidth from the looks of it.) 
          Many of the inhabitants are the technical sorts who love to surf the Internet and visit virtual worlds.  (I gotta believe that if you’re in Antarctica then you have some desire to travel and explore.  Either that or you did a really bad job of reading the job description you just posted for.)  They must have lot of time on their hands.  What do they do with it?  (Keep your minds out of the gutter!  This is still not that kind of blog.) 
          There are Americans there after all!  I believe that it’s impossible for my fellow country folks to go anywhere without smart phone access.
          Does Blogger perhaps lump the traffic into some nearby place like Australia?
          To date, despite my best efforts, I have no good explanations.  (We won’t go into Significant Other’s explanation that maybe an entire community is just showing good sense and avoiding me.)  I’ve made inquiries inworld.  I’ve searched the Internet.  I’ve tried to contact Antarctica.  (I’d hate to think what government agencies may be trying to figure out who I am.)  I’m beginning to suspect that they really like their solitude down there. 
          So, as always I turn to my readers for help.
          Does anyone have any ideas as to why we don’t seem to have any representation from Antarctica?  If anyone is reading this and they’re down there I’d really welcome a reply.
          Does anyone know anyone stationed down there and would they be willing to reach out on my behalf?
          Finally, if folks could ask around in their SL or RL (academia might have some promise here) about how Antarctica is connected to the Internet I’d be grateful. 
          I also plan to try and contact other places in RL that theoretically could access SL like the International Space Station, submarines, and any other places people might care to suggest.
          I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress and thanks in advance to all who help!
          And, if you’re following in Antarctica please drop us a line and let us know you’re there!  We’d love to hear from you!           
My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.    
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.


Ghosty Kips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ghosty Kips said...

I deleted my prior comment as I was incorrect; Antarctica is indeed a continent, and not an island on the continental shelf as I thought it had been redesignated. My apologies.

However, anyone there with Internet access is achieving that via satellite, which is going to be provided by a company, organization or individual headquartered somewhere other than Antarctica. Since Antarctica isn't claimed as a possession of any nation and no one has (or would be allowed to inhabit) the land mass as a permanent resident, the satellite access would show as Russia, USA, or wherever, not Antarctica.

And Pluto is not a planet. Sorry, dude.

webspelunker said...


I really appreciate your follow through!

Hope to see more of your comments in the future!

Your explanation is going to help me as I go forward.

But, I'm going to swim upriver on Pluto!



STNIchols said...

I am a crazy person that works in Antarctica. I work an astral summer contract that keeps me there 4-6 months. My (Our) mission is science support.

Antarctica is the only landmass not owned by any country. The Antarctic Treaty forbids it ( I believe 52 nations have now signed it) nor can it be exploited for its resources. It can only be used for science.

Oh by the way, cell phones don't work here. No cell towers. Yes it drives some to distraction not having their Iphones not work. No wifi either, its old fashion internet connections that will take you back to the days of dialup.

I'll put a plug in for a fantastic movie made by Anthony Powell. Antarctica: A Year On Ice. It does not go into the science or the environment but what its like to work in support of science down here. The photography is first rate (the BBC used some of Anthony's photography when they made Frozen Planet) You can find the movie on Netflix.

Have a great day and enjoy life