Virtual culture training for soldiers

Thanks to a link from ACM TechNews, I’ve been reading that folks at the University of Texas have been doing some research into the use of virtual worlds for training soldiers (click for the article). The focus of the training is dealing with cultural situations. I’m not a particularly well-travelled person myself, but I can imagine that even the slightest differences in cultural interpretation of verbal and non-verbal cues can become major issues in a conflict scenario. Read more Virtual culture training for soldiers

Virtual Happenings

Lebanese business and tourism

Some interesting things happening lately in the realm of virtual stuff, be it worlds or otherwise. One article which particularly caught my eye was the Bab-ilu portal, which is designed to help foster international business and tourist interest in Lebanon. (I did some brief mission work in Lebanon in 1999, while they were at war with Israel. One thing which struck me wonderfully was the kindness and generosity of many people; despite being in a warzone, and despite the fact that we were outsiders from another religion, they treated us with utmost respect. Parts of it were also absolutely beautiful… if I can find and scan some of my old photos, I’ll post them.) Read more Virtual Happenings

Theft, Divorce, and Murder

A less-than cheery topic to accompany some interesting virtual activity, starting with the NY Times report of the theft of some virtual inventory in RuneScape (also reported with slightly different details by the Telegraph), in which a 13 year old player was violently coerced to log-in to his account to let the thief (~16 years old) transfer the goods to another account. The incident occurred over a year ago, but a Dutch court ruled earlier this week that it amounted to theft under real-world law, and sentenced the thief accordingly. It’s a tough area to deal with from a legal standpoint, but I think it has been handled well. Read more Theft, Divorce, and Murder