Aldon Hynes's blog

Setting up shop in Second Life

Staying with my thought that Second Life today is like what the web was in 1994, I bit the bullet and set up my first shop in Second Life. I don’t have anything in particular that I want to sell. I just wanted a little space of my own where I could create things with a little permanence and see what happens.

My new Second Life home is here. Stop by and say hi.

Now, let me talk a little bit about setting up shop in Second Life. Being an old techie, I tend to think in terms of servers and all of that, and I think there are some interesting parallels between webservers and Second Life servers.

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Responses to incivility

What do you do when someone criticizes you in a manner that you consider uncivil?

  1. Prohibit them from running for class office, and when the student body elects them anyway, disregard the vote of the student body.
  2. Drag them away, taser them and attempt to justify your action by saying they were resisting arrest.
  3. Introduce an amendment in Congress on an unrelated bill appropriations bill attacking the critic.
  4. Act like an adult.

I’ve been thinking a lot about issues of civility recently. A friend has pointed me to the National Civility Center and I’ve been wanting to write about their great work. My wife just started a thread over on Salon’s Table Talk to:

discuss, civilly and with good humor, the merits and flaws of our candidates. Not a thread for spamming of polls and endorsements or name calling. We all have our favorites, but we're going to have to pull together come summer and get behind the same guy or gal. Share your stories of why you love your candidate, discuss policy differences or similarities, or just chat about the latest fundraiser or canvassing effort.

They are have a lively and civil discussion.

So, what is it with Superintendent Schwartz, the police at University of Florida and Sen. Coryn of Texas? Perhaps it is less about civility, and more about exerting control.

When Avery Doninger referred to the folks at the central office in Region 10 as douchebags, she acted in a manner that I think was uncivil. Her mother dealt with it in an appropriate and adult manner. Superintendent Schwartz and Principal Niehoff reacted in an over reaching and inappropriate manner. People from the area have told me that these sort of actions are typical of Superintendent Schwartz and have suggested that she needs anger management classes. There actions have resulted in people rallying behind Avery and further criticizing Schwartz and Niehoff. In a few weeks, there will be a fundraiser for Avery’s appeal of Judge Kravitz’s ruling. His ruling also invoked the ideal of civility without showing any understanding of how to promote civility.

So, whether or not you can make it to Poets and Writers For Avery, please contribute at or by clicking on the widget on the right.

Then, there is the case of tasering of University of Florida student who asked some long rambling, and perhaps inappropriate questions of Sen. Kerry. Perhaps the questions were uncivil. Yet Sen. Kerry handled it in an adult and appropriate manner. In contrast, the University Police acted in an over reaching and inappropriate manner. People from the area have told me that these sort of actions are typical and have suggested that local police and elected officials need anger management classes. (Those wanting more details should Google Charlie Grapski and find out about his experiences. These actions have resulted in people rallying behind Andrew Meyer.

Today, I got an email from MoveOn. Personally, I think it was uncivil for MoveOn to have called Gen. Petreaus names. It takes away from the very serious allegations about his inability to provide honest and independent information and about how closely he works with the White House and Republican leaders. I believe that Elizabeth Edwards dealt with it in an appropriate and adult manner. However, Sen. Coryn of Texas has introduced an amendment to a transportation, housing and urban development bill “to specifically repudiate the unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus by the liberal activist group” People from the area have told me that these sort of actions are typical of Sen. Coryn and have suggested that he needs anger management classes. There actions have resulted in people rallying behind Moveon. So, after you’ve chipped in to help defray Avery’s appeal costs, be sure to call your senators and express outrage at people who try to suppress free speech in the name of civility by introducing unrelated amendments to important legislation.

Civility is important. It is too important to allow people like Superintendent Schwartz, Principal Niefhoff, Sen. Coryn and the University of Florida police to try and use it as an excuse to shut down discourse and exert control. Somehow, all of their actions remind me of the great old quote from Mayor Daley, “The policeman isn't there to create disorder. The policeman is there to preserve disorder.”

Updates: Today, I got an email inviting me to the Take the Civility Pledge action on Please consider taking the pledge.

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The Pygmalion Project Pipe Dream

My eldest two daughters grew up with The Magic School Bus and under Ms. Frizzle’s tutelage explored the insides of the human body. Now, when they are not studying for a college biology exam, you might find them exploring Second Life. My youngest daughter is not yet six. She still likes to sit in my lap as I work in Second Life. She is just discovering The Magic School bus. She still believes that I’m all knowing and can explain just about anything and, with the tools available online, I can answer many of her questions.

All of this provides an interesting backdrop to my experiences this afternoon in Second Life. Dr. Douglas Danforth of The Ohio State University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, showed me some of his work in creating a model the human testis. I sent a picture from the interview as my Wordless Wednesday post yesterday.

As a philosophy major and technologist, I found Doug’s work fascinating and I learned something about the male reproductive system concerning spermatogonia that I didn’t know before.

This came up as a discussions on a Second Life Educators mailing list after I posted my blog post, Second Life as your next browser, where I asked, “Why don’t biology classes take place inside of a human body?” Doug’s work is a wonderful starting point, but it is, in my mind, just a starting point.

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DIGG: New Digg Profiles Launch

The Digg team is excited to launch new Digg user profiles later tonight, the first of many cool new features rolling out this year.

I've gone in and tweaked my profile, which I'll probably add a link to in the sidebar, as well as changed my settings so that I can (hopefully) blog from Digg.

Update: Digg dropped the <blockquote> tags when I submitted the entry, and it doesn't add categories, so I'm tweaking the post a little. Nonetheless, it is neat to see how it works. I'll see how often I use this as opposed to cutting and pasting.

Wordless Wednesday

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