The Kira Institute continues to see its initiatives bloom through the winter months!
Happy Hour Speaker Series
The Happy Hour Speaker Series in the Kira Cafe is drawing large audiences and attracting speakers from a wide range of disciplines and on a variety of topics from planetary formation to the function of dreams to the history and meaning of “critical thinking” in science. The HH Series takes place everyday in the Kira Cafe at 12pm SLT (PST). For a listing of our events please see the Kira Cafe Events Calendar.
Kira Workshop Series
With the great success of the HH Series and the great enthusiasm of the Kira Cafe members (which has grown to over 100 members) we launched five workshops which take place every weekday at 2pm SLT. Here is a short description of each:
Mondays: Science at Play w/ Prospero Frobozz
Short play writing/acting/directing in Second Life related to science and science in context. A place where people who have an interest in plays and in science can explore and see what they can come up with creatively to enrich the world.
Tuesdays: Maxine's Dream Workshop w/Maxine Walden
Exploring the dream and the dreaming process - as a process which is ongoing, involving the unconscious regions of the mind, and in which recent or intense sensory and emotional experiences are integrated into potential meaning for the individual.
Wednesdays: Philosophical Seminar w/Gilles Kuhn
All domains and problems of philosophy can be studied depending on participants' interests, however the first general theme will be on the “mind/body problem” otherwise known as the “hard problem.”
Thursdays: Ways of Knowing w/Stim Morane
An exploration of traditional contemplative practice in the context of contemporary views of reality and ways of life. The first two sessions will be a dialogue between Stim and Pema Pera on empiricism and how this relates to the methodologies of science and contemplative practice.
Fridays: Phenomenology Workshop w/Pema Pera
An exploration of phenomena in every-day life in the spirit of Husserl. All of the group's discussions and findings are published in complete detail on http://pheno.wik.is/.
For more information on these workshops and for a bio of the workshop leaders see Kira Cafe Workshops.
Kira Turns 12!
Kira will be celebrating its 12th Birthday on February 24th, 2009 at 3-5pm SLT in the Kira Cafe. Please come out (or rather sign into SL) and show your support!
New Virtual Kira Team Member
In addition to the expansion of Kira programs we are also pleased to announce that Phil Youngblood (Vic Michalak in Second Life) has joined the Kira Team as our new Outreach Coordinator. We met Phil through another SL science group, Nymf's Science Circle and were highly impressed by Phil's clear organizational ability, enthusiasm about science and science in context, and his involvement in the Second Life Science and Education community. Phil teaches full time and heads the Computer Information Systems department at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. He is a retired Navy Officer and did research in plant pathology and biochemistry before that, including some research in exobiology at NASA as a student. For more about Phil and other members of the Virtual Kira Team please see our new Virtual Kira Team page.
Kira Japan Update
In early October of last year the Virtual Kira Institute made its debut in Japan when Piet made a presentation at a bar called “Bar Tube” in Tokyo in a large crowd of heavy SL users, IT journalists, and metaverse planners. Weekly Japanese bar talks at the Kira Cafe in Second Life started soon afterward and now has typically 10 or more regular participants.
Second Life is still quite new for the Japanese, however there is great potential as Japan is technologically advanced with a well-developed infrastructure for virtual worlds. During recent visits to Tokyo, Piet Hut and Eiko Ikegami had a number of meetings with key players in the Japanese language SL, and visits to various labs such as the National Institute for Informatics, a group of scientists devoted to the development of virtual communications, and Uchida Yoko, a company that specializes in promoting educational uses of virtual worlds. Although business and institutional uses of virtual worlds have attracted attention, the social potentials of SL for communication are not yet well recognized in Japan. Kira Japan, as a branch of the Kira Institute, has a unique role in the current landscape of SL Japan, to demonstrate effective uses of the virtual world for enriching our cultural life through events organized by grassroots networks, as well as to potentially bridge the gap between Japanese and English language users.
In mid December the Kira Japan council of twelve members was formed, with a core group and an advisor group. The core group includes: Piet Hut (Pema Pera), Eiko Ikegami (Kiremimi Tigerpaw), Yuko Wada (Almond Andel), Rina Yamada (Rianna Demina), Michio Ozaki (Panda Kidd) and Richiko Beppu (Marube Oh). The advisor group includes the above six plus: Jason Link (Banzai Linden) of Linden Lab Japan, Nao Noe (Naoyoshi Shimaya) and Jun Doi (June Steampunk) of Metabirds, and Hisa Oyen of Com Lab, an SL based research institute,Yuki Saeki (Weasel Gough) from Genkii, and Kazuko Hashimoto (Cazy Cascarino).
The Kira Japan website, thanks to the efforts of Yuko Wada and Rina Yamada, will be available at the end of February/early March. Meanwhile for more information on Kira Japan and to view a picture of Piet, Eiko, and Yuko at Uchida Yoko please see the Kira Japan page.
Play as Being Update
The Play as Being group continues to thrive with the addition of 6 new Guardians: Aurora Kitaj, Hana Hendrassen, Pila Mulligan, Scathach Rhiadra, Susi Alcott, and Wester Kiranov. The group also rang in the New Year with its new “Scribe” project, where an assigned “scribe” gleans the highlights of three days worth of PaB sessions. This has been a great way to distill the sessions! Please take a look at:http://playasbeing.wik.is/PaB_Scribe_Project/2009.
“Art and the Sacred” Exhibition
Adams Dubrovna, a member of the PaB group has put together an exhibit called “Art and the Sacred” which will be shown at the Play as Being group's “Hall of Appearances” on February 8, 2009. The exhibition will compare second life constructions of sacred buildings with their real life counterparts. Sites include the Sistine Chapel, San Francesco in Assisi, Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai, the city of Rome, Islamic, Christian and Jewish structures in Jerusalem, Sultan Ahmet Mosque in Istanbul, the Forbidden City in Beijing, and a virtual recreation of the entire old masters wing of the Dresden Gemaldegalerie . So far real life architectural exhibitions have been limited to photos, plans, drawings, models and maybe architectural components. What if one could teleport to the actual building as part of the exhibit, and then return, and then to another building, and so on? How does this add to our experience? Please check out this exhibit and join us for the opening event at 12pm SLT in Second Life at the "Hall of Appearances" http://slurl.com/secondlife/Rieul/137/239/70/.