Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Little Thought Provocation for Your Weekend

Occasionally I test your patience here with speculations about the possibilities of extending the activities of Second Life, the artificial community site, into simulations of crime and/or sentencing consequences. So please bear with me with this notice of how some professors have taken their lectures into Second Life, complete with funky avatars and peculiar classroom participants. It still doesn't sound much like they're at the point where this is even possible to design, but I'm really not sure. Any of you know some computer geek types who could help with an NIJ, BJA, Pew, or someone else grant proposal to start the process? There is enough out there on community segregation simulations that the basics are available. We need to brainstorm this and then decide what kind of noses we want our avatars to have. As one quotee says, “Second Life will make you think about the real world rules and possibilities a little bit differently.” Don't we need a little of that in corr sent? . . . And here is a great, ruminative post from The Situationist explaining why we humans have such cognitive problems dealing with disasters only slowing rolling out, like global warming in the post or, I submit, the exponential increases waiting a few years out in our prison pops as they get older and/or stay in past the times they would have gotten out in the old days. Basically, we're just not mentally capable of handling the prospects well, sort of the "frog in boiling water" problem embedded in our brains. Most of us actually have to have the wall directly in front of us and no control of the brake before we finally wake up to the consequences of our ignoring what clear forethought would have forestalled in favor of our emotional, short-term reactions to things we don't like. Not that that applies to crim just policy over the last few decades or anything. It's a good read and intro to this fascinating new blog on cognitive science and law.

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