The Mechanical Lepidoptera is a flying machine you can get for free on the Second Life Marketplace, and it’s quite cool for all kinds of reasons. For one thing, it’s, you know, a flying machine with moving wings, which you can use to traverse the virtual world airborne like a steamunk boss. For another, it’s inspired by a painting from James Gurney, creator of the beloved Dinotopia franchise, who recently unveiled it at the Jules Verne Museum in Nantes, France (pictured above). But I’m not even finished: The SL version was created by an SLer named Bunnys Fride, who sought and received Mr. Gurney’s approval to create the virtual version, and make it available for free. Here’s James Gurney blogging about the SL version. Which makes this all extra excellent:

A lot of fan-made content in SL is based on stuff from well-known movies, TV, and books, and isn’t created with the original creator’s approval. That’s not necessarily the most horrible thing, but Mr. Fride’s experience suggests a much better approach: Contact the original creator, ask for their approval, then create a virtual version with their blessing. Which likely means, as in this case, they’ll help you promote it. Speaking of which, watch this machinima tribute to the Lepidopter:

Machinima by Natascha Wood, with great music by Epic Soul Factory under a Creative Commons license, making this whole enterprise a virtuous circle of cool creatives across many mediums making each other look even cooler.

Awesome Large Hadron Collider Machinima is Awesome

Years before the Large Hadron Collider found what maybe/possibly/probably is the Higgs boson “god particle”, a dude named Ryushimitsu Xingjian built a tribute to it piece by piece in Second Life, and then made this stirring machinima above. When the god particle discovery news broke yesterday, I had to look it up and play it, because it Socialverse captures the epic, world-changing power of the LHC… and, dammit, science in general. Watch, watch!


The SL version no longer exists in-world (“Took up too many prims!”, Dr. Xingjian explains), but lives on in this machinima — and in the memory of David Harris, a physicist who’s editor of Symmetry Magazine from Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Fermilab, who has seen the real thing up close, and told me this Second Life tribute came quite close to what it looks like:

“Not everything is scientifically accurate,” Harris told me, “but I can tell you from having been in the ATLAS cavern while it was being built, that this does a very good job of the look and feel of the real detector.” And now that it’s really detected the fundamental particle that makes all things real, the virtual recreation seems even more awesome.