[iDC] Second Life as educational tool

Eric Goldhagen eric at openflows.com
Fri Feb 2 11:22:47 EST 2007

At 8:09 PM -0500 2/1/07, Skawennati Tricia Fragnito wrote:
>This Mohawk/Italian chick, who considers herself fortunate indeed to 
>have a university education, is now going to her Second Life where 
>she meets up with other artists, nerds, Indians, and Others to chat, 
>have fun, make art and (dare i day it???) change the world.

have you thought about the real world impact of your Avatar? What is 
the energy requirement to keep second life alive? Is the payoff worth 
all that carbon and soot?

I've not checked the math on this, but the following post suggests 
that your avatar uses as much power as you do. That's a pretty large 
footprint for limited gain, in my opinion.


from http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2006/12/avatars_consume.php

He quotes Philip Rosedale, the head of Linden Lab, the company behind 
the virtual world: "We're running at full power all the time, so we 
consume an enormous amount of electrical power in co-location 
facilities [where they house their 4,000 server computers] ... We're 
running out of power for the square feet of rack space that we've got 
machines in. We can't for example use [blade] servers right now 
because they would simply require more electricity than you could get 
for the floor space they occupy."
If there are on average between 10,000 and 15,000 avatars "living" in 
Second Life at any point, that means the world has a population of 
about 12,500. Supporting those 12,500 avatars requires 4,000 servers 
as well as the 12,500 PCs the avatars' physical alter egos are using. 
Conservatively, a PC consumes 120 watts and a server consumes 200 
watts. Throw in another 50 watts per server for data-center air 
conditioning. So, on a daily basis, overall Second Life power 
consumption equals:

(4,000 x 250 x 24) + (12,500 x 120 x 24) = 60,000,000 watt-hours or 
60,000 kilowatt-hours

Per capita, that's:

60,000 / 12,500 = 4.8 kWh

Which, annualized, gives us 1,752 kWh. So an avatar consumes 1,752 
kWh per year. By comparison, the average human, on a worldwide basis, 
consumes 2,436 kWh per year. So there you have it: an avatar consumes 
a bit less energy than a real person, though they're in the same 
Openflows Community Technology Lab, Inc.
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