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Virtually Here

07/11/2012 @ 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm

Lights, sound, computer, electronic imagination, stirring rousing music, occasional commentary, action!…

We’ve had the ‘Wow!’ and the ‘how’ in our previous installment, until we were then hit by some real world reality… This picks up from where we left off. For any newcomers, you can have an abbreviated teaser to lead you in to where we are or where we might be… All presented by the power of the Raspberry Pi!



Also, for those wishing to update their keysigning, please bring along your various cryptic bits of paper to party. For those unsure or curious, the why/what/how of keysigning can well be an impromptue talk/demo – it’s all easy enough 😉

Plus all the usual discussions and beer and grub and general meet-up…


All at our usual:


Fellows Morton and Clayton
54 Canal Street
Nottingham, NG1 7EH
Telephone: 0115 9506795
latitude = 52.948615
longitude = -1.148431
Google map

Food is also served up until 8pm.

As usual for this time of year, we’ll be up the spiral staircase above the restaurant area at the far back to make use of the big screen for the talks. Beforehand, we may be found in the lower bar area. Just look for the Linux mags and gadgets (or ask the friendly bar staff where to find us 🙂 )


Wednesday 07/11/2012:

  • 7:30pm: Meet
  • 8:00pm: Discussions/Talks


All welcome!




7:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Event Category:


Fellows Morton and Clayton
54 Canal Street
Nottingham, NG1 7EH United Kingdom
+ Google Map
0115 9506795

26 comments to Virtually Here

  • Martin L

    We’ve had the ‘Wow!’ and the ‘how’ in our previous instalment, until …

    That was a good fun video collection, with a few enlightening bits also. There’s rather a lot of cross-over between virtual worlds and what we believe to be our real world…

    Thanks to Paul for the extra clip about Ken Block… I had used the following clip as an example of simulating reasonably realistic physics, but also of not simulating so well the surrounding world (note the overenthusiastic Z-culling for example):

    Youtube: GTA4 Dirft Ken Block’s Subaru

    Little did I know that style of driving is for real!


    Good fun… And lots more was shown for how to fool our senses to experience something not real…

    We already have and have had for some time “virtual realities”. For the second instalment we saw a little of what is being called “augmented reality” where you have added views that follow the real world superimposed on your own real-world view. Very useful for such as aircraft pilots following on from the old-style “head up displays”, or even for car drivers. However, handed over to Marketing people, do you really want to see your world through their “augmented reality” filtered view of the world around you?

    Then going further, through to some gruesome Marketing for future user synergy and safety with increased efficiency and management control, at all time of day and night, throughout the buildings and city for where you live and work… All for our own good ofcourse…

    Youtube: Smart buildings – the future of building technology

    And then again, do we know what is real?

    Youtube: NASA/DoD physicist Thomas Campbell

    And mention was made of various realities inbetween…

    The RasPi held together quite nicely for viewing at 10fps and even kept the sound reasonably in sync. Stop, start, pause, or 15fps, are still a killer with it for badly losing sync… Until the next upgrade…

    Next social is Monkeys and a Shabab!


    • Martin L

      A few years later and GTA evolves to version 5 and has spread out over 100 square miles of the San Andreas area. Now with some unexpected Artificial Intelligence:

      Grand Theft Auto deer causes chaos in game world

      … In its first few days of wandering, the deer has been caught in a gangland gun battle, invaded a military base and been chased by the police.

      More than 200,000 people have tuned in to watch the deer via a video stream on the Twitch site…

      … He made the deer impervious to harm so it can keep on wandering despite being regularly shot at, beaten up, run over by cars and trucks, shelled by tanks and falling off buildings.

      The trouble it has caused on military bases, beaches and on city streets led, at one point, to it having a four star wanted rating…


      A good giggle 🙂

      And curious how news in our virtual worlds keeps leaking out into our ‘real’ world… 😮

      (Is this a leaky-real alternate to Terry Pratchett’s “Dungeon Dimensions”?… 😛 )

  • Martin L

    As part of the commentary, I emphasized how what people do with-and-in ‘reality’ and ‘virtual reality’ has a cross-over both ways between the realities. One big distinction of virtual reality is that people can be more fantastic or grander or more extreme in what they do. A form of “augmented dreaming”?… And people can be influenced by their virtual reality experiences…

    Virtual Reality, a Solution For America’s Obesity Problem?

    Could an attractive avatar convince you to moderate your eating style? …

    … an “alter-ego can then have a positive influence on a person’s life” and “people seeking to lose weight could create fitter avatars to help visualize themselves as slimmer and healthier.”

    Behm-Morawitz said that she surveyed 279 users of Second Life and found that “self-presence, or the degree to which users experienced their avatars as an extension of themselves, [will] predict the influence of the avatar on people’s physical reality.” A “strong self-presence” in a virtual community “promoted health and well-being of the participants themselves” and people generally felt that an attractive avatar online made them feel better offline as well. …

    • Martin L

      In another example in the news of the “cross-over” between the real and virtual worlds:

      Minecraft to aid UN regeneration projects

      Development plans for 300 places around the world are being modelled in Minecraft so residents can help decide how the locations will change.

      Called Block by Block, the programme is part of a collaboration between Minecraft-maker Mojang and UN Habitat. Urban locations will be recreated on computer using Minecraft allowing residents to take a virtual tour. They will also be able to change the model and help decide how regeneration cash should be spent. …

      … The ease with which the real world can be modelled in Minecraft led UN Habitat to approach Mojang to help with its urban regeneration plans…

      Add in a low cost Raspberry Pi?…

      Does it run Minecraft? Well, since you ask…
      Minecraft is coming to Raspberry Pi!

      • Martin L

        Explore the whole of Denmark “1:1” in Minecraft!

        Minecraft players can now download Denmark – all of it – in 1:1 scale

        Government recreates homeland in 1TB motherlode

        … “All of Denmark is now a virtual world in the ratio 1:1 inside the Minecraft – thus you can freely move around in Denmark, find your own residential area, to build and tear down as you can in whichever any other Minecraft world,” said the Danish ministry of the environment – in a Google Translate download, the country has been split into three sections (north, south, and the Eastern Islands,) with each having its own server.

        The model has been created using mapping data from the Danish government, since making it by hand would take centuries of game play. The map is geographically accurate, although for simplicity’s sake all roofs are flat rather than peaked.

        The Danish government asks players to abide by some basic rules: no swearing or bullying will be tolerated in-game and the use of TNT has been banned…

        … the data will be available for download only until October 23 – after that the map will only be available in smaller chunks.

        All rendered at a super-realistic 1m resolution (“1:1”).

        There is also from earlier, as noted in true The Register irreverence, a Minecraft map for Great Britain:

        Great Britain rebuilt – in Minecraft: Intern reveals 22-BEEELLION block map

        Cunning Ordnance Survey bod spent the summer bricking it

        All good although that version looks to be a long way away from a 1:1 scaled map…

        • Martin L

          Soon enough, for what Minecraft is all about…

          Denmark dynamited by cunning American Minecraft vandals

          Last week, the Danish government put a 1:1 scale replica of its country online at Minecraft and invited players to politely explore the land of Lego and Carlsberg. Gamers being what they are, you can guess what happened next.

          “Several large Danish towns have been leveled to the ground and a lot of new things have been built all over the place,” Chris Hammeken, chief press officer at the Danish GeoData Agency, told state media outlet DR. “We don’t have a complete overview yet, but we’ll probably choose to reconstruct Copenhagen…

          All good virtual fun! 🙂

        • Martin L

          That intern has been busily mining away under the OS to resurface with:

          Ordnance Survey intern plonks houses, trees, rivers and roads on GB Minecraft map

          I can see my house from here!

          Blighty’s Ordnance Survey organisation has updated the country’s map in Minecraft, adding roads, national rail networks and houses to the digital overview.

          A plucky intern at the mapping org stuck Britain into the vastly popular game this time last year. Now that he’s bagged himself a full-time position on the grad scheme, Joseph Braybrook decided to add 83 billion bricks to the map…


          A somewhat more down to earth summary is given on:

          Minecraft map of the UK upgraded to include houses

          … Created by Ordnance Survey (OS), the original map re-created 224,000 sq km (86,000 sq miles) of Britain using more than 22 billion blocks. The updated version uses 83 billion blocks, with each one representing 25m of real-world British soil, road or grass.

          The Minecraft UK map is so detailed that people should be able to find their own house on it. Ordnance Survey said it would put an interactive map on its main webpage so people could generate co-ordinates to lead them to their home on the Minecraft version…

          … The increase in scale means that woods and forests now have computer-generated trees, tributaries to rivers are visible and motorways, local roads and rail links are all accurate. “I’m looking forward to seeing if people eventually build a working railway system in-game,” said Mr Braybrook in a statement.

          OS said it planned to make the one-gigabyte map freely available for download for people to play on…

          All good continued virtual fun! 🙂


          Meanwhile over in the real world, here’s hoping that this recent unexpected world shattering quake doesn’t spoil the party:

          Microsoft Has Acquired Minecraft For $2.5 Billion

          … Founders Markus “Notch” Persson, Carl Manneh and Jakbok Porser are leaving the company following the acquisition…

          … Mojang makes no assurances about the specific future plans in store for Minecraft, but says that for now it should be business as usual. Microsoft says it “respect[s] the brand and independent spirit” of Minecraft and will continue projects…

          Minecraft sold: Microsoft buys Mojang for $2.5bn

          … Mojang spokesman Owen Hill and Microsoft have separately sought to reassure fans of the multimillion selling building sim that work on the game will continue unaffected…

          … Mojang has assured fans that the purchase won’t necessarily mean that versions of the game running on non-Microsoft platforms will be scrapped…

          And for just one telling comment:

          Article Comment:

          A very telling quote. Microsoft are only interested in something like this to “monetise” it, i.e. bleed as much money as possible out of the current user base. Get ready for more subscription based offerings, (maybe an expansion of the Minecraft Realms offering?), and a crackdown on the user built extensions, (unless they are for sale and MS get their cut).

          My kids (rightly or wrongly) feel betrayed. They thought “Notch” and friends were a bit different. Sad to see their illusions shattered.

          Here’s watching to see what gets dug up 😐

    • Martin L

      A fun example of the virtual becoming ‘real’… Virtual is copied into reality in a Chinese theme park:

      In pictures: Unlicensed World of Warcraft theme park in China

  • Martin L

    It looks like the big names are jumping onto the “Augmented Reality” show:

    Microsoft patents smart glasses with augmented reality

    Work on digital glasses that overlay information on top of the user’s view of the world…

    … If a product comes to market it could challenge Google’s Project Glass.

    Google is planning to deliver its augmented reality glasses to developers early next year and then follow with a release to consumers in 2014.

    Smaller firms – such as Vuzix, TTP and Explore Engage – are also working on rival systems. …

    … “We think smart glasses and other head-worn displays will be the next major form-factor for computing with adoption by consumers beginning around late-2014 to 2017,” he told the BBC.

    “The devices will help integrate technology into human life, making things like augmented reality more seamless than it is on smartphones at present. …

  • Martin L

    And for some timely Christmas fun with Augmented Reality:

    DIY Tardis looks bigger on inside with augmented reality

    • Martin L

      We’ve had for some long time now the Google Ingress augmented reality roving game that sees players roam far and wide across the real world to play a virtual game superimposed on reality…

      And now we have our reality ‘augmented’ with further augmentations on the same theme:

      Pokemon Go: Churches sign up to become Pokestops

      The Church of England is throwing open its doors to players of the online game Pokemon Go by making some of its churches Pokestops.

      The augmented reality game – which is attracting millions of new players – involves finding virtual Pokemon characters in different real locations.

      Several churches have now signed up to become a Pokestop for people to visit.

      The Church has said the game was “a good way to start a conversation that may lead on to other things”. It has issued guidance to churches around the country, encouraging them to attract players into their local churches.

      The game launched in the UK on Thursday, and has proven popular with people around the world…


      Which worlds do you play in?…

  • Martin L

    Two video clips given in the presentation introducing the latest VR hardware were taken from:

    YouTube: “Creator of Doom John Carmack shows his reality at E3 2012”

    YouTube: “Oculus Rift: What Head Tracking looks like”

    Just a few months later, we now have those parts in reality recently demonstrated at CES 2013:

    Oculus Rift: Changing The VR Landscape at CES 2013

    Quite rightly, that is an enthusiastic article for what really is a game changer!

    • Martin L

      Ready to go virtual through the Oculus Rift?

      Oculus Rift Development Kits Arriving in Customer Hands

      … Those who make pledges to the Rift’s 2.5 million-dollar Kickstarter project have begun to receive the promised development kits. …

      … a commercial model will follow when there is solid game support. For now, developers and enthusiasts can play with the included ‘World Demo’ (a sandbox environment that simulates a small villa in Tuscany). In addition, Neil reports that enthusiasts are having some luck with the open-source Perception 3D drivers, and that some MTBS3D members have been working on the open-source version of Doom 3 in order to try and modify it for the Rift. On a side note, a kickstarter project has been recently launched for the development of a game called Six Elements that specifically targets Oculus’ VR headset. …

  • Martin L

    A decade of Second Life has given rise to a rather disappointed and dystopian news article despite at least some enthusiastic denizens:

    What happened to Second Life?

    Not long ago Second Life was everywhere, with businesses opening branches and bands playing gigs in this virtual world. Today you’d be forgiven for asking if it’s still going.

    Once upon a time Second Life had a Twitter level of hype. Even those without a cartoon version of themselves couldn’t plead ignorance due to blanket coverage in newspapers and magazines.

    Second Life is a virtual world started by the US firm Linden Lab in 2003, in which users design an avatar to live their “second life” online. … Mentions of Second Life first crept into the UK media mainstream in early 2006. A year later, newspapers fell over themselves to cover it…

    … IBM bought property in 2006, American Apparel opened a shop the same summer, Reuters installed avatar journalist Adam Pasick – also known as Adam Reuters – to report on virtual happenings, and countries established virtual embassies.

    The number of people joining the site jumped from 450,000 to four million in 2007. But just as quickly as it had flared, media interest ebbed away…

    … And the site continues to evolve, Mr Kingdon says. It launched a new product earlier this month geared towards businesses, and will soon be launching more user-friendly and intuitive software.

    And many companies and organisations are still holding on to their virtual selves – 1,400 of them says Mr Kingdon. IBM continues to be an avid supporter of Second Life.

    But for many others, the jury is out.

    BBC News Video – Whatever happened to Second Life?

    All in a place where virtual reality has stood still? Or somewhere where a utopia has been found by some?

    Just as in The Matrix, might there be a need for a third life and a fourth life and…?

  • Martin L

    Two recent aspects of Virtual Reality in the news that look to be changing our cyber-landscape:

    Oculus Rift Interview: Grass-Roots Virtual Reality Momentum Upstages Xbox And PS4 At Gamescom

    … But there was only one demo that made me worry — just for a second — that I might burst into tears.

    Unlike with some of the bigger publishers at Gamescom, the demo didn’t take place in an impressive stand with free coffee and pasta salads. It was located in a small, blank white cubicle somewhere…

    … once the demo began, there wasn’t even much of a game to play. My character awoke on a stone pathway, outside a grey castle lit from behind by a volcano spewing lava and ash. There were mountains in the distance, cracks in the floor, and a gloomy doorway into a monster’s lair. So far, so much video game cliche. The controls weren’t inspiring either. My character couldn’t even walk, much less swing a sword.

    But then, I looked up. Not my character. Me. I looked up. As I did, the view – powered by the 3D display secured onto my head with a skiing goggles strap – moved with me, with no perceptible delay. I stared deep into the sky. And then I saw that it was snowing. The flakes were drifting in the wind, falling onto me. I wanted to reach out and touch them as they passed in front of my face. It felt real.

    The snow wasn’t really there, of course. But I was.

    The Oculus Rift is something special…


    Why Minecraft is more than just another video game

    Minecraft’s creators revealed this week that the blocky freeform building game has 33 million users. It can easily become an obsession…

    … From such an uncomplicated setting has grown a gaming phenomenon. The community of people involved with the game numbers in the tens of millions. Many of those fans are children, mainly boys, aged between nine and 15 – among whom it is almost a religion…

    The game also bestows some technical competence

    … He also hopes Minecraft can teach parents a thing or two rather than them wanting the game to teach their kids.

    “If this is something your kid is passionate about you owe it to them to take an hour or two to figure it out,” he says.

    And that’s perhaps the best thing about the game – the shared times and stories we’ve had playing it together. Like that time we got ambushed by a creeper, which blew up and dropped us into a cavern, and we only had one torch and had to find our way back. Or the first time we killed the Ender Dragon or the time they showed me around the giant elaborate treehouse they had built and the… Well, you get the idea.

  • Martin L

    Many years ago as the dawn of computer ‘adventure games’ and ‘virtual reality’ gained wider interest, who would have guessed today that new ideas ‘all in the mind of the players’ back then would be so controversial at the time:

    The great 1980s Dungeons & Dragons panic

    In an era of potent concern over internet pornography, cyber-bullying, and drugs, it is hard to imagine a game being controversial. But 30 years ago Dungeons & Dragons was the subject of a full-on moral panic, writes Peter Ray Allison…

    … Back in 1974, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was arguably the first true roleplaying game. Players took on the mantle of adventurers from a multitude of races and occupations. Each game had a Dungeon Master who would act as both a referee and storyteller. By 2004, it was estimated that the game had been played by over 20 million people.

    Today, any veteran player from the game’s early years would speak of its positive attributes. It was based almost entirely in the imagination. It was social. No screens were involved.

    But in the 1980s the game came under an extraordinary sustained assault from fundamentalist religious groups who feared its power over young minds…

    … Looking back now, it’s possible to see the tendrils of a classic moral panic, and some elements of the slightly esoteric world of roleplaying did stir the imaginations of panicked outsiders…

    … D&D continues to be debated, in the US at least. In 2010, the United States Court of Appeals … upheld a ban on D&D by the Waupun Correctional Institution. … testified that D&D can “foster an inmate’s obsession with escaping from the real life, correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behaviour”.

    But public perception has changed. If people have any kind of negative view of roleplaying today, it is much more likely to be about the supposed geekish overtones, rather than fears for the sanity of the players…

    What then for such as the old text-terminal Adventures and MUDs (Multi-user Dungeons & Dragons), the multitude of the present day 3D-worlds of various games consoles and “First Person” 3D games, Minecraft, Second Life, and the scarily developing (Marketing) tech of “Augmented Reality“?…

    (Do we need a “Second Heaven” or “Bible Life” virtual reality so as to be all inclusive! 🙂 )

    And I’m reminded of the incredible foresight of what was depicted for the Matrix in Dr Who in the episodes shown in 1976…

    It’s all in your head?…


  • Martin L

    Oculus Rift looks to be changing our landscape in both realities:

    Norwegians trial Oculus Rift in tanks: The ultimate battlefield simulator

    High tech comes cheap when compared to military prices

    … The system uses four cameras on the sides of an armored vehicle, each giving a 185-degree view. These feed data back to a computer in the vehicle, and allow the Oculus-wearing driver to see where they are going.

    “Those who play ‘Battlefield’ do indeed have a better view than in an actual vehicle. However, with our software you can add the information and views you are used to from games: an overview map, spatial (geographical) orientation, tilt and speed,” Daniel Mestervik, development manager at Norwegian firm Making View, which built the Oculus system…


    Meanwhile, for a lower-cost lower resolution augmented reality view:

    Epson takes on Google Glass with wired ‘augmented reality’ glasses

    … The Epson Moverio BT-200 is a pair of high-tech specs that uses twin microprojectors to display images on the interior side of the glasses with 960 by 540 resolution, has built-in Dolby speakers, and a forward-facing camera for recording everyone else. Accelerometers are also built-in, and the device is controlled with an Android handset that serves as a touchpad.

    “Moverio BT-200 is Epson’s second-generation smart glasses…


    Can you believe what you see?! 😉


    • Martin L

      And this is what the fast expensive high fliers can now see through:

      BAE unveils Striker II night vision helmet for fighter pilots

      … also has higher definition display than the earlier model, and head-tracking sensor technology.

      This means that operational information can be accurately displayed to the pilot within his or her field of vision… The sensors also remove any latency when the pilot moves their head, seamlessly overlaying the view in front of them.

      … the higher-definition display [is] a “crucial” advance.

      Previously pilots were faced with a screen resolution that was inferior to what they call “mark one eyeball” – the human eye.

      Is what you see really real?…

  • Martin L

    This looks to be an interesting and beneficial example of enhanced vision that could easily morph into augmented reality:

    ‘Smart glasses’ help fix failing vision

    … The glasses enhance images of nearby people and objects on to the lenses, providing a much clearer sense of surroundings.

    They have allowed some people to see their guide dogs for the first time.

    The Royal National Institute of Blind People says they could be “incredibly important”…

    … Most though have at least some residual sight.

    Researchers at Oxford University have developed a way to enhance this – using smart glasses. They are fitted with a specially adapted 3D camera. The images are processed by computer and projected in real-time on to the lenses – so people and objects nearby become bright and clearly defined…

  • Martin L

    By the power of cyberworld physical simulation and virtual reality:

    Ancient arachnid ‘walks again’

    … an arachnid that lived 410 million years ago has crawled back into the virtual world…

    … “This new study has gone further and shows us how they probably walked. For me, what’s really exciting here is that scientists themselves can make these animations now, without needing the technical wizardry (and immense costs) of a Jurassic-Park style film. When I started working on fossil arachnids, we were happy if we could manage a sketch of what they used to look like. Now, they run across our computer screens.” …

  • Martin L

    And by the power of a computer game computer-simulated-virtual-world that is now powerful enough to take on the real world:

    Gaming supremo creates maps that turn real world into Sim City

    Complete with live cartoon buses that sync up with real-time bus arrivals

    … applied games technology to mapping, making your 3D navigation feel like a trip to Sim City.

    eeGeo‘s maps can show weather conditions – so you can make it snow – and time of day, with night-time images. The software has a cartoon-like feel, but uses real 3D models rather than pasted-on bitmaps…

    … There are hooks to show data in real time, so a bus mapping app might show where all the buses are or a delivery company might show where your delivery is … Using geolocation, the source of Twitter tweets can be plotted on a map…

    … this is full 3D data and eeGeo works with multiple companies such as architects to do this. One of the applications is for architects to show how their new designs will fit into a landscape. An animation can be produced showing the old building and then dropping the new one on top…

    All spookily reminiscent of Dark City?… All virtually real! 😛

  • Martin L

    From field of points laser survey archeology to:

    3D virtual reality tours of RRS Discovery developed

    A 3D virtual reality tour of the historic RRS Discovery ship in Dundee is being developed. A recent laser survey of the ship, which was sailed to Antarctica by Captain Scott, has made virtual tours using the Oculus Rift headset possible.

    … the original laser survey, which had aimed to produce an accurate record of the ship’s structures for conservation planning, had provided the opportunity to develop the virtual tour.

    … “The prospect of people at home all over the world being able to explore the ship in 3D is very exciting”…

    How real is real?… 😉

    • Martin L

      Now also for newly developed warships:

      Virtual reality aids BAE warship design

      … Engineers at BAE Systems, the firm contracted to build vessels, are creating virtual versions that can then be examined in detail before any actual steel is cut.

      Previously engineers had relied on wood or cardboard mock-ups of ships…

      … In future engineers may wear Oculus-Rift style headsets as they design, BAE Systems said…

      … Visualisation suites with huge screens allow engineers, equipped with special glasses and a controller, to walk around the computer-generated ships and inspect the innards of the vessels to see whether there are any potential issues with the design.

      Howard Wheeldon, an independent defence analyst said that the system had a lot of benefits. “There are a lot of people involved in ship design so to be able to do it this way is absolutely brilliant and should be the way forward in other areas of engineering,” he said.

      I wonder what we would get if instead they used the readily available Minecraft?… 😉

      At least there would be a strong design gain from using readily interchangeable standard parts! 🙂

    • Martin L

      … And a fortuitous archeological Virtual Reality recently becomes carved in stone:

      Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph recreated in London

      A replica of a Syrian monument, two millennia old and destroyed by so-called Islamic State in Syria, has been erected in Trafalgar Square.

      The scale model of the Arch of Triumph has been made from Egyptian marble by the Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA) using 3D technology, based on photographs of the original arch…

      … The original arch was built by the Romans.

      The two-thirds scale model will be on display at Trafalgar Square for three days before then going on display at other locations around the world, including New York and Dubai. It is intended that it will then be taken to Palmyra next year, to find a permanent home near the original arch…

      … when Palmyra was attacked, he decided the IDA’s Million Images Database project – which distributes 3D cameras to volunteers in countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – could take action.

      “It is extraordinary to have a vision about something and see it come together in such a palpable way,” he said.

      The 5.5m-high replica was made by machines carving the stone to the exact shape and design of the original arch, based on 3D photographs…

      … He has said that he wants to “promptly (and, of course, thoughtfully)” restore monuments to prevent terrorists being given “the power to delete such objects from our collective cultural record”.

      But Professor Bill Finlayson, of the Council for British Research in the Levant, which supports research into the archaeology of the region, sounded a note of caution. “The publicity and so on is great,” he said. “I have no problem with this [project]. “I think there is a bit more of a problem with the issue of reconstruction on the site itself.

      “The dangerous precedent suggests that if you destroy something, you can rebuild it and it has the same authenticity as the original.” …

      That is to the backdrop of events in:

      Syria civil war: Palmyra damage in pictures

      New images have emerged from Palmyra, hours after Syrian troops recaptured it from the Islamic State group (IS).

      The pictures reveal the extent of destruction wrought by the group during their 10-month occupation of the Unesco World Heritage site…

      … IS seized the Unesco World Heritage site and modern town in May 2015. Soon after, they killed the archaeologist who looked after the ruins for 40 years.

      Palmyra is situated in a strategically important area on the road between the capital, Damascus, and the contested eastern city of Deir al-Zour. When IS seized the city it destroyed archaeological sites, provoking global outrage. Two 2,000-year-old temples, an arch and funerary towers were left in ruins.

      The jihadist group, which has also demolished several pre-Islamic sites in neighbouring Iraq, believes that such structures are idolatrous…

      Do we still need to keep the old real world when we can go Virtual?…

  • Martin L

    HTC is now taking virtuality to your head:

    HTC reveals virtual reality headset with Valve at MWC

    HTC is to release a virtual reality headset as part of a tie-up with Valve, a leading PC video games publisher.

    The HTC Vive will be paired with wireless controllers and tracking technology to let wearers explore computer-generated environments by walking round their rooms.

    A test version of the kit will go on sale to developers shortly, followed by a public edition later this year. It will compete with Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus VR headsets…

    It’s all in your head! (And around it… 😉 )

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