29 April 2011

My Second Life Bike Tour the 3rd - Part 11

Today suddenly the land ran out! Of course I gladly took this chance to do some flying again. After taking a closer look at the harbor though - which is really a great piece of Second Life construcion. A pretty naturalistic one too with only a very little amount of glowing crystals (what I noticed gladly).
I also found out that Nautilus is not only the name of this little island north of Satori, its the name of the huge continent in the north too.

Nautilus - Shalim - Found it: the Harbor!

Interesting detail - no-one around though, Obviously the Nautilean worker take it rather easy.

de Grasse - huge statues guarding the entrance to the harbor. Oh, and the giant horn actually makes sounds when clicked!

Nautilus - Sicorathi - beautiful ruins. I wonder if Nautilus' downfall begins here...

Nautilus - Sicorathi - having a conversation with one of the locals.

Nautilus - Shalim - Tsubaki Club - not quite fitting to the overall style but nevertheless pretty cool looking.

Nautilus - Shalim - it looks even better inside!

Nautilus - Bynuthi - the Western Cape.

Nautilus - Shalim - after some searching I found a place to rezz (private property, but don't tell anyone) for starting my journey to the atolls west of Nautilus.

Overtaking a motor yacht.
While circling around it I had a nice chat with one of yacht's passengers Mara Inkpen. Her name did ring some bell and after finding out shes an explorer too I'm sure we seen before at the Blake Sea-Area. And she has grey skin too (but alien descent) - how cool!

After the yacht crashed at a sim-border - without my involvement of course - I decided to land at Tromp - a nearby atoll for meeting...

...the air police -dang!

Luckily my first impression was wrong and the pilot - Susan Paquot - turned out to be another explorer too and was in no way interested in my record - phew!

Nimitz - Bingo Strait (yes, thats really the name of that place) - watching an experiment with low-emission sea-transportation. North of here are the sims "Twice Bitten" and "Horrorbag" of "Nautilus major" as I decided to call the continent north of Nautilus City itself.

The Coast!

Pretty confusing today, huh?
Ok.. today's route seems a bit complex but I will try my best to explain it: The red circle in the eastern part of the map is where I started. I went north along the harbor and till I reached the harbors lighthouse. Then I turned south towards the Western Cape. After this my hunt for a place I can rezz led me back to Shalim. Then the ride went pretty smooth and straight to the west where I touched mainland ground again at Twice Bitten.

My Second Life Bike Tour the 3rd - Part 10

Today saw the exploration of the northeastern part of Nautilus City before I headed down to the south to continue my journey outside the city walls. So far Nautilus is one of the more interesting and spectacular parts of the mainland. Despite its rather small size. The always present Atlantis-inspired theme makes it a really nice attraction,

Magon - Lighthouse-technology to its extreme

Nautilus - Malchus - besides several massive buildings the capitol also offers a selection of pretty decent rentals with picturesque gardens...

...and houses. Really beautiful!

Nautilus - Hamilcar - cypresses seem to be one of the predominant trees on Nautilus.

Nautilus - Suniaton - Outside the quiet nicely eroded city walls

Nautilus - Hanno - this peculiar looking... object seems to be one of the pity human attempts to create a cave. No match to what Drows can do!



Hrmm.... just a store. At least they have some freebies here

Cafe My House - Cuuuuute!

Nautilus - Yamm - They are pretty consequent with their maritime approach here.

Quite cool globe - but 32 prims!

Another great example of genuine Nautean art.

The Wizard's-tower seems to be indeed pretty popular.

Nautilus - Shalim - Freebies! After the hovertexts on these amphora got my attention I found out the whole place is a freebie store!
Simply right-click every amphora or box or crate you can find and select "Buy" to get the items for free. Seems you can rebuild the whole Nautilus City with them: Textures (pretty handy), houses (pretty cool), clothes (pretty... proper), building parts (pretty huge), plants and crystals (pretty decorative)... a quite impressive collection!

Today I left the Nautilus City after inspecting the northeastern quarter (aka Malchus) and headed further to the west towards the harbor and perhaps to another opportunity to fly!.

27 April 2011

A Visit at the Areva Nuclear Power Plant

Not long ago I discovered the Areva Nuclear Plant - a educational project by the University of Denver. It is sponsored by AREVA, a industrial conglomerate and world market leader in nuclear technology.

The plant itself is located besides several other sims dealing with science topics. Since the Fukushima disaster nuclear power is again worldwide controversial discussed so I decided to do my part to shed some light on this - for many people still pretty mysterious - technology.
While making my way through the pretty impressive complex the obviously biased display of nuclear power left quite a bad taste though.

The Areva Nuclear Power Plant complex as seen from the air. 
Since the AREVA Power Plant is a full-scale replica the whole complex looks pretty overwhelming first. But lets go through it step by step: In the front you can see the building where the emergency power supply is located. Behind it the reactor building and the concrete dome of the containment structure of the reactor itself can be seen. Apart from the cooling towers the massive concrete dome is perhaps the most distinctive part of a nuclear plant. Since I haven't discovered any cooling towers on the AREVA-Plant I assume the it works with fresh-water cooling using the adjacent sea-water like the Fukushima Plant. Thats pretty typical for plants located near the coastline. On the left side are the turbine- and transformation buildings located.

Starting point of my exploration was the Uranium Cafe not far from the power plant itself. The name and classical style of the cafe began to make me wonder since nuclear power seems to be a bit too "cool" there...

A quite nicely made diner indeed. If it just wont remind me on the naivety towards nuclear power they had in the 1950s...

Outside some pure porpaganda did await me. Links to pro-nuclear-power websites, groups, posters and books like on the welcome-point shown below.

I don't feel like smiling: Obviously the university's views on nuclear power are not the most balanced: Clicking on the smiling cooling towers gives you a link to join a group which tells you the "The Truth About Nuclear Energy" according to its charter...

They also offer a "tour bus". Too bad its a pure sightseeing ride giving you no additional information about the site like an automatic tour guide using open chat.

After the rather disappointing tour I decided to explore the place on my own. Luckily the blue chairs you can find almost everywhere are offering a comfortable teleport service. First I headed to the control room.

Some schematics of the reactor core and the coolants. Its a pressurized-water-reactor like the majority of modern reactors.

The reactor vessel itself is located beneath the containment structure consisting of several meters of steel enforced concrete.
The plant uses the heat caused by nuclear reaction for producing electric power. Its fuel is usually uranium-235, which produces neutrons at its natural radioactive decay. If a neutron hits another uranium-235-nucleus it splits into lighter (radioactive) elements producing more neutrons which also hit uranium nuclei which again release neutrons... etc - a fission chain reaction has started.

  A pretty handy feature: Clicking a red ball hovering above the reactor reveals whats usually well covered. The reactor's fuel rods and the flow of the primary coolant.  
To keep the nuclear reaction under control neutron absorbers can be moved in between the fuel rods for limiting the amount of neutrons hitting other uranium-235 nucleus.

A nuclear reaction however not only produces heat but also a high degree of radioactive radiation which requires massive shielding to protect the environment from.

In Fukushima the fuel rods did melt due to the failure of the cooling system and the nuclear reaction became totally uncontrollable. The heat eventually became that high the containment structure - as well as most likely the reactor vessel itself - did break. Releasing deadly radiation into the atmosphere.

 The reactors primary coolant constantly  transports the heat produced by the nuclear reaction away from the core.

The hot and high pressurized water  (red valves) goes to the heat exchanger where the heat gets transferred to the secondary coolant.

Both coolants never get in direct contact for preventing any exchange of radiation. The cooled down water from the primary coolant returns again into the reactor core closing the circle.

The high pressurized steam of the now heated up secondary coolant drives several turbines which transform the high pressure into electric power.

The transformer building which transforms the electric power to the needed voltages.

These transmitter eventually feed to the public grid. The dolphin joyfully jumping out of the water is a bit much don't you think?

Used nuclear fuel rods were stored into the cooling pond.
The used fuel rods contain - besides leftover uranium - the highly radioactive fission products cesium, iodine and strontium. The cooling process of these rods takes months and needs constant maintenance to prevent a meltdown.

  Two huge diesel generators represent the plants emergency power supply.  
The diesel generators were the part of the power plant in Fukushima which got destroyed by the tsunami leading to the meltdown of several reactor blocks. These days is also the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl-disaster in 1986. Of the about 800,000 people who were deployed there as "Liquidators" some 50,000 - 100,000 have died until today.

Despite having my doubts about about whether to post this rather serious article here among usually rather cheeky and playful entries I feel the topic is too important to just go over it. The University's close connection to the AREVA conglomerate and its way of praising nuclear power was the main reason. Claiming this enormously dangerous technology as the only practical way to fight global warming is an alarming belittlement and distortion of facts I haven't really expected by a rather renowned institution.

My Second Life Bike Tour the 3rd - Part 9

Leaving the Minoan Palace I headed to see more of the splendor the city has to offer. I didn't had to wait long before I spotted the next sight. A rather eclectic mix of diverse styles - and certainly pretty BIG:

Nautilus - Anath - thats something more Egyptian looking

I think I mentioned before that the ancient Nautileans were indeed quite into gigantism...

Btw: the place is called The Tower - how fitting!

The entrance seems to have some kind of zodiac locking device. It does not work pretty well since I was able to open it with just some random clicking.

Inside the Tower didn't really offered anything spectacular. Just stairs over stairs leading up (and down). Obviously it shares the Second-Life-Castle-Syndrome too: gorgeous facade, rather sparse interior. It didnt took long till I reached the top of the Tower then.

/me wonders a bit what Siegmund Freud would say to four half-naked women standing on top of a gigantic tower with liquids flowing out of it - at least the land is rated mature...

Spotting new sites worth to inspect.

However taking a more closer look on them it was a bit a disappointment: The pyramid turned out to be an abandoned shop and the clockwork-thing next to it is surrounded by a banline...

By far not as spectacular as expected...

Some kind of Pantheon I assume...

Obviously a reuse of the already known "Lighthouse-technology".

A minoan deity or priestess holding two snakes - the original was found at non-Second Life's Crete and is dating from about 1600 B.C.

Seems everything is gigantic here

Today's lag.. uhm.. leg did lead mainly around channel in the center of the monumental Capitol. Despite its atlantean-inspired style the city lacks a harbor - or I simply haven't found it yet...