Thursday, December 7, 2006

Time Dilation

Written 5 December, 2006

Time Dilation

Second Life has its own set of physical laws, and time is no exception. Time goes by quickly in SL. Just sit and watch the sun set and you'll see what I mean.

I think I figured that out after my first adventure with Jesse Prior (see my earliest blog entry). We spent what seemed an entire day exploring and crashing Jesse’s various vehicles (and, often SL itself). True, Jesse never got around to doing his laundry that evening, but we spent less than two first-life hours together. Emotionally, it felt like a drive across the continent, a la Badlands.

The time dilation seems to be on some sort of exponential scale. Four times more things can happen in one hour than in thirty minutes. Two hours? Sixteen times as much. Yeah, an inverse square thing. Help me out, math majors.

It’s not only houses that come and go-- empires do. And relationships? Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. One fine day, I watched a property sell; six hours later there was a McMansion on the spot and the landscaping was nearly finished. I dropped by to say hello to Greg, my new neighbor.

That evening, I got an IM. Greg had broken up with his SL girlfriend and she had sold the land and taken the house. The lot was barren. I sent him a bottle of Dom.

Another neighbor broke up with his first-life and SL wife (he was luckier than Greg in that he got to keep the land and the house); less than four days later, he sent me a notecard showing his proposal of marriage to another avatar. It makes me wonder about the length of gestation in SL.

Yeah, the physics of SL are definitely different.

Did I mention that I can fly?


Photo: Time goes really slowly when you’re being serenaded by an accordion player

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