Flanner's Beach Campground closes, Metaverse opens
Located in the eastern part of North Carolina between New Bern and Emerald Isle, the Croatan National Forest features coastal and inland swamp habitats. It is perhaps not a forest suited for everyone, but it is a very attractive area to fishermen and hunters. There are hiking trails, boat launches, campgrounds and day-use areas.
Significant natural features include pocosin habitat, estuaries and a large number of carnivorous plants. The name pocosin refers to an elevated swamp, literally "swamp on a hill". Estuaries are the areas at the lower ends of rivers where fresh water meets salt water and is influenced by tides. 95% of all ocean life either originates in or is dependent upon estuaries. The Croatan Forest is home to the largest collection of Carnivorous plants in any National Forest and it is near the northern range limit of the American Alligator. It also has an amazing collection of bugs, including mosquitoes and horseflies. Much of the forest is characterized swampy habitat with thick underbrush. [NC Natural's Croatan National Forest]
Reminds me of James Koehnline's Gone to Croatan: Origins of North American Dropout Culture
What are the currencies of the new economic dropouts? Increasingly, its virtual currency that is only good with their virtual community, their online tribe. The noise on my blog about "Flanners" is an attempt to acquire, by winning a contest, a small number of Netpond Points, a virtual currency with little real value in dollars (1 point = 1 cent) but incredible utility if you want someone in India to write a blog post for you, or you want to register a domain name. Other virtual currencies include those of Everquest and World of Warcraft, but most promising is that of Second Life (almost kicking myself now for not beta-testing it - but then again I've been useful in the real world):
Second Life has its own economy and a currency referred to as Linden Dollars (L$). Residents receive an amount of L$ when they open an account if they supply credit/debit card details, and used to receive weekly stipends thereafter — only premium accounts and basic accounts that were already receiving stipends currently receive stipends. Additional L$ are acquired by selling objects or services within the environment.
Linden Lab has stated that the Second Life economy generated US$3,596,674 in economic activity during the month of September 2005, and as of September 2006 Second Life was reported to have a GDP of $64 Million.
LindeX Currency Exchange
Residents may purchase L$ directly through the client, or convert between Linden currency and U.S. currency through either Linden Lab's currency brokerage, the LindeX Currency Exchange, or other third-party currency exchanges. The ratio of USD to L$ fluctuates daily as Residents set the buy and sell price of L$ offered on the exchange, and fluctuated between L$240/USD and L$350/USD between October 2005 and September 2006.
The current lowest yearly membership fee in Second Life is $72 (USD). A premium (user receiving a L$400/week stipend) would accumulate enough L$ over the course of their subscription (L$20,800/year if they did not spend any of it), and they would be able to recoup their subscription (not taking exchange fees into account) if they were able to obtain an exchange rate of L$288/USD. At L$289/USD and above, the user would start to make a loss on their investment.
As of October 16, 2006, the exchange rate for selling currency was L$243/USD.[Wikipedia entry for Second Life]
I endorse the strategy of dropping out of the "real" U.S. dollar denominated economy until impeachment transpires... I've done my best not to contribute economic friction since the invasion of Iraq began, and while I've got mounting bills and projects I would love to fund with my own hard earned dollars, coasting for a few more months might make sense if it inspires a few more people to get off of the conspicuous consumption treadmill, and to either become active in real world impeachment and other peace and justice organizing, or trying to make a better life for themselves, virtually, in the Metaverse.
Newt Gingrich's futurism is appealing, for about two minutes. I saw his "Politics and Eggs" speech on C-SPAN yesterday, and clearly heard him recommend something resembling A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer as the cure for America's educational failures. A high tech, virtual, personalized educational experience, tailored for each child. Then the madman rambles on about a more expansive contract with America, criticizes the Western liberal democratic tradition in all countries save for the U.S., and in a previous speech argued that free speech as we know it should be curtailed because of terrorism, yet limits on campaign contributions are an infringement on free speech rights and lead to negative ads in political campaigns...
On the other hand, the emerging insurgent candidacy of Cash Flanners does not need your unlimited campaign contributions, but instead, 'your extra time... and your kiss'. Cash is a huge Prince fan, apparently. Somebody has got to get Cash onto C-SPAN, ASAP.
Update - 8/25/2011: Hurricane Irene is projected to make landfall in Croatan area on Saturday, 8/27/2011 at around 2 PM.