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Notes from the real world
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Having spent yesterday in a virtual reality world, I wanted to reconnect with some real notes, thoughts and links from this one.  First, a great question from Michael on yesterday's show with VR guru "Skip" Rizzo, creator of "Virtual Iraq." 

Question: Where I get hung up with some VR research on human social interaction is the fact that, even though my heart may race and my fear instinct kicks in, I still know deep down that I won't actually die in a combat game -- so in fact, I'll take ludicrous chances with the knowledge that I can try it again. I know that I can get away with risky sexual behavior in a simulation because deep down I know I won't die of AIDS if I have unprotected virtual sex.  However, I will be careful if there are points or rewards for staying alive/healthy ... but is that realistic or simply virtually realistic?

Some of my thoughts exactly.  I told our panel after the show that I'm not one who can easily "suspend disbelief" and be totally immersed in a virtual setting.  Could I really get the therapuetic benefits of VR if I don't "buy in" to that reality?

Heroin back in the news

The Courant's Rick Green says Glastonbury is back at the center of a suburban heroin problem.  Last week, he joined us on the show to talk about the problem, which prompted worried reaction from parents and others.  We'll feature some of these notes on tomorrow's program.  Rick points us to a story by Mark Spencer and Christine Dempsey about yet another overdose death. 

Finally some good news for newspapers? 

WNPR's Anna Sale profiles the big changes at the Bristol Press and New Britain Herald, since a new owner swooped in to save the papers.  It's a rare feel-good story for the industry, which we've been covering in some detail.  But now, a new white knight steps in, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin.  He wants to give papers the chance to reorganize as non-profits, under an "educational" tag.  (Sound like public radio to anyone?)  While the plan might limit their editorial abilities, it would likely mean more collaborations with like-minded public broadcasters like WNPR.  Morning paper with your tote bag?  

"Mad as hell"

Interesting follow-up to our show about anger from NPR's Alix Spiegel.  She profiles a woman who gives people a place to safely throw plates, smashing them in anger, as therapy.  The story talks about the "primal scream" movement of the '60s, which we didn't touch in our program.  There's a lot of talk about anger in the news recently, and it's not surprising.  The AIG mess seems to have really stirred something in peoples' emotions, as thisTalk of the Nation piece suggests.  But Jon Stewart, as usual, gets the tone perfectly.  We're so angry, there's only one thing to turn to: Political grandstanding!

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