"The ISM Works, but why and how?": Kat Lemieux - The Kira Institute
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"The ISM Works, but why and how?": Kat Lemieux

Kat Lemieux: HI Pema!
Kat Lemieux: '
Becka Finesmith: Hi Ari, Pema
Arisia Vita: Hi all
Pema Pera: Hi Kat, and hi everybody!
Kat Lemieux: Is this a good place to perch? I didn't know where you usually have these talks
Pema Pera: yes, this is were we hold our talks, generally
Kat Lemieux: Ok, good!
Pema Pera: we don't really have much of a tradition yet, though, you're still one of the first speakers!
Kat Lemieux: HI Namaste, antares
Namaste West: hello
antares Martian: hello everybody
Pema Pera: But as you can see from our calendar, we're ramping up fast
Kat Lemieux: Oh, good! Instant traditions! Love it!
Kat Lemieux: Yes, looks like things are taking off!
Kat Lemieux: I didn't bring any slides, I'm afraid
Pema Pera: no need, Kat
Pema Pera: most people don't
Kat Lemieux: OH, good
Pema Pera: this was a slide left over from a talk for the Japanese evening :)
Fefonz Quan: Hello all
Eyana Runningbear: hello
Kat Lemieux: Well, I'm at your disposal, if this dragon doesn't eat me
Prospero Frobozz has trouble with the round earth
Kat Lemieux: Hi Pros
Prospero Frobozz showed up at noon his time, thinking that since he is two hours away from SLT, that was right for a 2:00 SLT meeting....
Kat Lemieux: ;-)
Becka Finesmith: Pros - You're a Dinasaur - Sure you've heard that before :p
Pema Pera: :)
Prospero Frobozz is a dinosaur who can teleport, though
Kat Lemieux: Hi Pila
Pila Mulligan: greetings
Kat Lemieux: HEllo, Storm! You snuck in without me seeing you
Pila Mulligan: laggy day for me it seems :)
Becka Finesmith: lol@Pros
Kat Lemieux: So, does this group follow the convention of starting 10 minutes late? ISM group always does that...
Storm Nordwind: Sadly yes
Pema Pera: typically 6 or 7 . . . .
Pema Pera: . . . but don't tell them, it will become 15 minutes!
Kat Lemieux: ;-) Well, it saves starting over..
Prospero Frobozz is sad that humans didn't evolve with 16 fingers; that would make computer programming easier, since 16 is a power of 2, and hexidecimal is so convenient.
Pema Pera: :)
Pema Pera: but dividing by 5 would be so hard, Pros . . .
Prospero Frobozz: Pema : but why would we want to?
Pema Pera: :)
Prospero Frobozz: The only reason we think dividing by 5 is so important is because 5 is what you get when you divide our base by 2.
Prospero Frobozz: Actuyally, 12 would probably be better, really
Prospero Frobozz: 12 divides well by 2, 3, nd 6
Pema Pera: sure
Prospero Frobozz: thirds are a mess in our base
Pema Pera: or 60, as the Babylonians used
Storm Nordwind: Counting on your fingers in 12s is very easy
Pema Pera: or 360 for that matter
Prospero Frobozz would love ot see a babylonian hand
Prospero Frobozz can count to 255 on his fingers.
Pema Pera: Well, shall we get started?
Prospero Frobozz would be able to count to 1023 on his fingers if he didn't need his thumbs to hold the other ones down.
Kat Lemieux: OK
Pema Pera: Welcome everybody to the Kira Cafe!
Pema Pera: For background about the Kira Institute, see http://www.kira.org/
Pema Pera: We have a public talk today, and it will be in text chat only.
Pema Pera: We will publish the log on our web site
Pema Pera: Our speaker is Kat Lemieux, director of ISM
Pema Pera: the International Spaceflight Museum
Pema Pera: The title of her talk is
Pema Pera: Kat Lemieux: The ISM Works, but Why and How?
Pema Pera: Kat, the floor is yours!
Kat Lemieux: Thank you Pema
Pema Pera: And since you are using text, you can take 20 minutes or so
Kat Lemieux: And a lovely floor it is! I appreciate your inviting me to talk today
Kat Lemieux: OK, that's a good thing to know!
Kat Lemieux: I'll have a few introductory words, then please feel free to interrupt me with questions.
Kat Lemieux: I'll start at the beginning.
Kat Lemieux: ISM started out by accident
Kat Lemieux: IT's really an art project run amok
Kat Lemieux: In Fall of 2005 I was invited by a neighbor, Greene Hornet, to use the parcel he'd won in the lottery for Burning Life '05, an art festival
Kat Lemieux: As it happened, my friend Gearsawe Stonecutter was visiting me at the time, and I asked him if he'd help me put something together.
Kat Lemieux: So, after beating our heads on the virtual walls, we decided to build a space station, just to be different
Kat Lemieux: And to be even more differnt, we put it up at 300 m, so we had to also build a ground station so people could find it
Kat Lemieux: Anyway, some people DID find it, and one of them was Shaun Altman, who said he'd always wanted to start a spaceflight museum.
Kat Lemieux: The planted the spark, and I wrote up a proposal for him, and Gearsawe started building a working model of the Canada robotic arm on Greene's land in Aglia
Kat Lemieux: That attracted some attention from passers by, some of whom decided to get involved.
Kat Lemieux: So, the museum was actually a grass-roots movement, started in SL rather than a virtual representation of a brick & mortar museum
Kat Lemieux: One of the people who joined us relatively early was an SL charter member, Kanker Greenacre
Kat Lemieux: It was his idea that we needed to have planning meetings on a regular basis in order to get organized, if we were serious about the idea
Kat Lemieux: So, ever since October 2005 we've had meetings almost every week, and sometimes more.
Kat Lemieux: We also started recording those meetings and posting the chatlogs in a private website.
Kat Lemieux: So we have a record of almost everything we've done.
Kat Lemieux: In June 2006 we had the grand opening of our first island, Spaceport Alpha, and in summer of 2007 we opened Spaceport Bravo. Alpha was built with donations from a number of people, while Bravo was given to us by one individual, Kirra Ball.
Kat Lemieux: This year we took over ownership of Bravo, so now we're paying for both islands.
Kat Lemieux: (Kirra had not only bought the island, but also paid the land use fees for over a year.)
Alfred Kelberry: hi guys :)
Kat Lemieux: Oh, and in Oct 2006 we started a RL nonprofit corporation, the ISM Corp., in Kansas, to handle the group's finances
Kat Lemieux: Hello, Alfred, please join us
Kat Lemieux: So, that brings us to the question, how does it work?
Alfred Kelberry: pema! :) what time is it there? :)
Kat Lemieux: Our "organization" is a modified democracy
Kat Lemieux: From the beginning we have operated on a very collaborative basis, and voted on almost all major (and many minor) decisions
Kat Lemieux: When we created the corporation, most of the actual business-related decisions became the responsibility of the corporation's board of directors, since they are the one's held responsible for them
Kat Lemieux: But in-world decisions are made jointly by the active members of the ISM Planning group, the ones who come to the weekly meetings
Kat Lemieux: Until a few months ago, I was acting as "senior director" in world as well as president/CEO of the corporation
Bisbee Writer accepted your inventory offer.
Kat Lemieux: Then I turned over the in-world operations to Paradox Olbers, who with the active members has been taking care of things in an exemplary manner
Alfred Kelberry: oh, didn't know para is that important :)
Kat Lemieux: We've built a lot of stuff, filling up both islands, and we presently mostly have to spend our time and efforts terying to figure out how to pay the rent ;-)
Becka Finesmith: lol
Kat Lemieux: Yes, Paradox really IS important! I couldn't have found a better person to handle it, I think
Paradox Olbers: Alfred, i'm not important, just useful :) It's the great team that gets things done ...
Alfred Kelberry: kat, are questions welcomed during the talk?
Kat Lemieux: Exactly, Para. The teamwork IS what makes it work
Kat Lemieux: Yes, Alfred, do you have one now?
Alfred Kelberry: para, that's the best kind of important :)
Kat Lemieux: It sounds corny, but yes, the group is what makes it work
Alfred Kelberry: yes, how many people in the organisation?
Kat Lemieux: Of coruse, I take some credit for picking good people ;-)
Alfred Kelberry: and how many of them are acive in-world
Elenesski Gumbo accepted your inventory offer.
Paradox Olbers: and thanks Kat for staying on and continuing to be part of our brain trust
Kat Lemieux: We have had nearly 100 people in the group from the beginning. Some have dropped out, many are not active at the moment
Alfred Kelberry: wow
Kat Lemieux: Right now about 20 or 25 people are more or less active, with about 10 doing the majority of the work right now
Kat Lemieux: But it varies depending on what we're doing, and what interests people
Prospero Frobozz: How is the rent mostly paid now?
Kat Lemieux: When we put out a call for help, people come out of the woodwork, so to speak!
Paradox Olbers: Alfred, Any volunteer group in rl or sl usually has a fluctuating core of 1/2 dozen to one dozen active workers
Kat Lemieux: Right now we've got a program going of selling sponsorships for individual exhibits, mostly on eBay
Kat Lemieux: WE also have tip jars, and gift shops
Kat Lemieux: And several people have "subscribed" as supporting members, through our PayPal account
Kat Lemieux: And we have a PayPal donation page on our website
Paradox Olbers: but we want to traNsition to a model of small steady contributions
Prospero Frobozz: Oh! Speaking of which, somebody purchased an hour with me in an auction, and I while I was told who it was, I don't know how to follow up on that.
Kat Lemieux: So, the answer is, "any way we can"
Paradox Olbers: ok Prosp, i'll get u the info
Kat Lemieux: Hmmm, Prospero, I did that too, and haven't heard yet from the purchaser
Kat Lemieux: As you can hear, we've done some creative things when it comes to fundraising
Pema Pera: :)
Alfred Kelberry: have you heard of the money? :)
Prospero Frobozz suggests what he calls the "7-11" funding scheme. It involves a mask, a gun, and a convenience store.
Kat Lemieux: We're also working on an application for US tax-exempt status (501c3) which should give us a break on the island rent as well as making it feasible to apply for grants
Kat Lemieux: PRos, I didn't hear that
Prospero Frobozz: That will make the tier of the two islands go down to what used to be tier for one island -- a big win.
Prospero Frobozz: If you get 501c3 status
Kat Lemieux: But if you happen to stumble across a small fortune, we'd be happy to "launder" it for you (jk)
Prospero Frobozz has plenty of ideas for spending his small fortune once he stumbles across it :)
Kat Lemieux: So, that brings up one of the drawbacks to the way we've operated.
Prospero Frobozz: What is the future of the ISM? Any grand plans in the works?
Kat Lemieux: Pros, right now we're mostly concentrating on staying alive long enough to make more plans
Paradox Olbers: Prospero, to resorlve status of Spaceport bravo,
Kat Lemieux: Another island or two would be good, since builders like to build, and we need room for the stuff they'd make
Paradox Olbers: then to explore new VWs
Paradox Olbers: and put copies of ISM in them
Pema Pera: like OpenSim?
Kat Lemieux: Hmmm, Bravo IS resolved, Paradox. It belongs to us, along with the bills it and Alpha incur
Kat Lemieux: Yes, OpenSim is certainly something we've considered
Pema Pera: And others?
Kat Lemieux: The biggest obstacle to expanding into other VWs is the matter of IP ownership.
Paradox Olbers: I mean assuring a donation stream adequate to fund Bravo
Kat Lemieux: Right, I was pretty sure that's what you meant, Para, but didn't know if that's what other listeners assumed
Paradox Olbers: good poiont! :)
TR Amat: I'd be very impressed if you could export ISM into Entropia Universe. :) Or, Eve. :)
Kat Lemieux: One advantage of using other VWs is that we'd have a backup copy of whatever we could take there
Kat Lemieux: I haven't been to Entropia, but if you have info about it I'd love to hear it
Paradox Olbers: we are making it a point to clear IP rights with all new builds/builders to give us transportability across VWs
Kat Lemieux: But the subject of this talk is "why does it work" as well as "how"...
Paradox Olbers: so our transportab le content is 20-30% and raising
Kat Lemieux: I think the "why" is a result of several factors.
Kat Lemieux: As a volunteer organization, we first had to have something going on that attracted workers
Alfred Kelberry: hi, sal :)
Kat Lemieux: I think "spaceflight" was a very good choice for that,
Salamanca Congrejo: Hi.
Salamanca Congrejo accepted your inventory offer.
Kat Lemieux: Almost everyone at least has an opinion about it, and many people love to dream of traveling to other worlds, as well as many "geeks" loving the technical aspects
TR Amat: How important do you think the physical (virtual) presence of the rockets is?
Kat Lemieux: Then, the planning group is NOT open enrollment, so we've had control over who can be involved. That's helped us focus.
Kat Lemieux: The rockets' presence is an excellent outward manifestation taht attracts lots of visitors, certainly
Prospero Frobozz: The primary display in Spaceport Alpha, with all those huge rockets, is quite striking
Alfred Kelberry: and huge lags :)
Kat Lemieux: While rockets aren't dificult to build, our builders have also done a very good job of working to scale, so they're all "life size"
TR Amat: I've heard people give the ISM as their first reason for visiting SL.
Kat Lemieux: That in fact was one of our initial goals -- to show SL citizens just how big the Saturn V (for instance) really is
Alfred Kelberry: outstanding work, though
Kat Lemieux: I've heard that, too, TR
Prospero Frobozz: ...although, and this is something Ina Centaur learned building the globe, one SL meter isn't really equivalent to one RL meter
Prospero Frobozz: Partly because average avatars are very tall (deafult avatars are very tall)
Prospero Frobozz: Also partly because of the default camera placement, we need more "personal space" in SL than typically in RL
Kat Lemieux: Of course, rockets aren't the only things we have -- the "upper sim" with planets and planetary probes and the ISS is another interesting area
Prospero Frobozz is fond of the cutaway HST that shows the light path
Kat Lemieux: YEs, Pros, but we've pretty much stuck to the 1:1 scale in spite of avatar sizes
Prospero Frobozz: Yeah, probably a good idea.
Kat Lemieux: If we tried to figure out any other ratio, it would get massively confusing
Prospero Frobozz: It's not TOO far off; it only really matters when avatars try to go inside things.
Kat Lemieux: Right
Prospero Frobozz: Then they feel more cramped than they should.
TR Amat is waiting for someone to do a full scale model of the LHC. in Sl. :)
Kat Lemieux: LHC?
Alfred Kelberry: tr! exactly!
TR Amat: Large Hadron Collider
Prospero Frobozz: That would take more than one sim, I think :)
Alfred Kelberry: actually, one guy named professor panda built atlas in sl
Becka Finesmith: And a heap of liquid nitrogen
Kat Lemieux is very confused by recent acronyms, as her RL space industry work ended in 1991
TR Amat: In the spirit of really large tech biuilds. :)
Kat Lemieux: So, to get back to the organization, one other drawback, which is also an advantage, is that all our important decisions are reached by consensus
Alfred Kelberry: you know him, pros?
Kat Lemieux: That means some people, who think they know better than the group at large (and maybe they do) can get upset when things don't go their way
Kat Lemieux: The majority rules in a democracy, even when it's wrong
Kat Lemieux: Of course, I said at the beginning that ISM is a "modified" democracy
Prospero Frobozz: Alfred : I don't.
Kat Lemieux: What that means right now is that when decisions impact the corporate aspect of our group, the Board of Directors may have to go against something the planning group wants
Prospero Frobozz has been upset with decisions of the US democracy in the last several years....
Kat Lemieux: That can create conflicts, but so far we've managed to not have too many disagreements
Alfred Kelberry: pros, please, don't bring politics in here :)
Kat Lemieux: And those we've had, we've survived as a group
Kat Lemieux: Politics is really what life is about, Alfred. No way to avoid them if you're dealing with people
Kat Lemieux: US politics may be a bit beside the point in this discussion, though
Kat Lemieux: OK, I guess now's a good time for more questions
TR Amat: Politics becomes an issue when there is more than one person present, certainly more than two. :)
Kat Lemieux: Right!
Prospero Frobozz made the point not just to be snarky, but also to point out that a democracy making a decision that individuals are unhappy with is common
Alfred Kelberry: well, most kira's meetings somehow avoided this topic :)
Kat Lemieux: And politics certainly is something that happens in any group, including the ISM
Pema Pera: Kat, is this a fair summary for ISM:
grass-roots, entry-threshold, a board, weekly meetings, consensus-democracy?
Kat Lemieux: Excatly, Prospero, so the polictially astute people try to make people like the decisions
Pema Pera: Or are there other, equally important elements?
Kat Lemieux: One thing about the way we've worked is that everyone has a voice, even if we don't always adopt (can't) every idea
Kat Lemieux: We try not to close a topic until whomever wants to comment has had their say
TR Amat: That could make for some long meetings...
Kat Lemieux: One important element, Pema, that's resulted from our way is that we sometimes wind up with better ideas than we started with
Kat Lemieux: But yes, our meetings have sometimes been rather long
Kat Lemieux: It's not unheard of for them to last 2+ hours
Kat Lemieux: But we try to be more disciplined nowadays
Pema Pera: how many members are there in the planning group?
Pema Pera: (you have board, planning group, everybody -- just these three divisions, or more?)
Paradox Olbers: active in planning, 1/2 doz to one doz
Kat Lemieux: All the members of our group -- about 70 right now -- are welcome to the planning meetings and could take part in decision making
Kat Lemieux: In reality, what Para said
Pema Pera: how many people are on the board?
Paradox Olbers: and the active ones vary and flicker across a year's time
Kat Lemieux: There are 7 board members, which includes the executives
Pema Pera: how many executives?
Kat Lemieux: Right now, 3, because Secretary and Treasurer are filled by one person
Kat Lemieux: That's not always going to be the case, I imagine
Kat Lemieux: The board only meets a few times a year, and by conference call, not in SL
Kat Lemieux: That's mainly because of the wishes of the people involved right now, but might change in future
Pema Pera: interesting, to meet by conference call --- voice in SL is not good enough?
Kat Lemieux: When we started, SL didn't have voice
Kat Lemieux: Also, there's the privacy issue
Pema Pera: it's really amazing what you have built up, Kat and Paradox -- and yes, for me too, ISM was my entry point in SL :-)
Kat Lemieux: At the time the board started meeting, we didn't have a place we could keep people from interrupting or overhearing
Kat Lemieux: ;-)
Kat Lemieux: So, I'd invite all of you to visit the museum, if you haven't already
Alfred Kelberry: it's one of the first places i visited as well :)
Kat Lemieux: And if you're interested in joining our group, please talk to Paradox
Alfred Kelberry: was really impressed by the row of rockets
Pema Pera: Are there any last minute questions, comments, suggestions for Kat? We're approaching the hour
Kat Lemieux: Thanks, Alfred!
Prospero Frobozz: Kat : you know you can set up private calls within SL Voice?
Kat Lemieux: Yes, now I do, Pros, thanks
Prospero Frobozz: By ctrl-clicking on names in your friend lists.
Prospero Frobozz: starting an IM, and then doing "call"
Paradox Olbers: Pema, ISM was my entry point to SL, too - 1st on my tourist list
Kat Lemieux: Ah, that's easier than the way I'd been doing it, thanks!
Alfred Kelberry: all structures on the island are built for free, kat?
Kat Lemieux: Yes, Alfred
Kat Lemieux: And all our people are volunteers, even the board
Kat Lemieux: The only things we've paid for are the islands and some advertising
Alfred Kelberry: and if someone wants to organize an exhibition on your land he neeeds to by a sponsorship?
Kat Lemieux: Well, it needs to be relevant to our "mission"....
Becka Finesmith: Great talk Kat - Sorry - I have to leave. Bye everyone :)
Pema Pera: where did you put ads, Kat?
Kat Lemieux: and there are some other restrictions, but if you have soemthing in mind we'd be happy to discuss it
Kat Lemieux: Thanks, Becka! I appreciate your coming!
Alfred Kelberry: thanks, kat
Kat Lemieux: We've had ads in Metaverse Messenger
Alfred Kelberry: lhc would really be great
Kat Lemieux: And maybe some other places, I don't remember
Pema Pera: Do you have a way of measuring in some sense the results of your ads?
Kat Lemieux: Well, we keep track of visitors, but that's all
Kat Lemieux: We did see a real spike in visitorship after a series of articles MM did on us
Alfred Kelberry: mm?
Kat Lemieux: Metaverse Messenger
Pema Pera: yes, that may be more effective than ads
Pema Pera: Thanks, Kat, for a great talk!
Kat Lemieux: Definitely is!
Pema Pera: And thanks, everybody, for joining us!
Kat Lemieux: You're welcome, thanks for the opportunity!
Pema Pera: for other events this months here, see http://www.kira.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=83&Itemid=113
Pila Mulligan: thanks
Kat Lemieux: Sorry I need to run -- another meeting
Kat Lemieux: This was really great, Pema! Thanks for inviting me, again
Alfred Kelberry: thank you, kat! :) please, come again :)
Prospero Frobozz: OK, bye all!
Prospero Frobozz needs to run off to aditi for Prospero Linden's office hours
Pema Pera: thank you, Kat!
Kat Lemieux: Bye, y'all!
Pema Pera is heading off for breakfast
Paradox Olbers: bye all...
Pila Mulligan: bye Pema
Pema Pera: c u all soon again!

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