THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
A Brownian Constitution
Churches incensed by 'stop smoking' signs

Second Life

Home It may be the future of the internet; a more natural way for people to interact online. For the time being, it's merely a weird alternative universe with six million virtual inhabitants. At times, to be frank, it seems to be populated mainly with sex-crazed teenagers and people trying to sell them pornography.

SL (as it is known) introduces the puzzling concept of virtual sex. Subscribers control their "avatars" (the figures who represent them in SL) in their various contortions. Frankly I can't see the point, but it seems that many can.

After a complaint from a German TV station, the owners of SL have recently ejected a man in his 50's and a woman in her 20's for causing their avatars to indulge in virtual paedophilia. I should have thought it better the sick chap in question gets his kicks digitally, with the aid of a consenting adult, than in real life (or "RL" as it is known in SL).

Germany's legal system is so advanced, apparently, that his virtual actions may have been criminal. O tempora, o mores.

Idiotically, an accountancy watchdog in Britain is calling for regulation, warning that SL could provide a venue for money laundering and other nefarious activity. On the more positive side, a British law firm has just opened an SL office. Sweden is opening an embassy. Mercedes, Toyota and BMW all have showrooms. Some tech companies even hold shareholder meetings there.

If you have a "second life" of your own feel free to look me up. My SL name is "LastDitch Writer" and my house is a dinky chalet proudy flying the cross of St George. Here are eight words I never expected to write. Look out for the Tardis on my lawn.

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