Awesome: Virtual terrorists set off nuclear bombs in "Second Life"

I’ve read this five times and still can’t decide what the proper reaction should be. Annoyance at what is, essentially, a nasty DOS attack? Amusement at the thought of mega-geeks waging jihad? Or astonishment at a virtual reality environment that includes real news agencies, real embassies, real presidential candidates, and anthropomorphic squirrels with suitcase nukes?

Actually, I do know the proper reaction. Awesome.

Marshal Cahill started playing Second Life before the boom [in membership] came, and has since witnessed arrogant gamers grow rampant. Players hog real estate, step on each others’ free speech, and run online mafias that harass the entire community. So how does he plan to solve this problem? Nukes of course. Even online humans are predictable. But instead of plastering people in main towns he chose to set us up the bombs near in-world corporations that would draw real world attention. The first nuke was detonated outside an American Apparel store, with an encore explosion occurring outside a Reebok store. 2-22-07. Never Forget… To Never Play.

How awesome does it get? This awesome.

Exit question: Dr. Strangelove here objects to all the new members flooding in — and his solution is to introduce nukes into the mix? Have you ever been more hot to sign up than right now?

More: (Bryan) I logged on to Second Life a few months ago. Bought the premium account so I could buy land that doesn’t exist. I spent about an hour traipsing around the virtual world before satisfying myself that the thing was one huge bore. And I never logged on again.

Why did I check it out? Hype. I read about the virtual millionaires and thought it all sounded fascinating. The problem is, the Second Life world itself is clunky and a lot like a ghost town. There are buildings and signs of civilization everywhere, but very very few actual people. Or avatars. Whatever. And the people you do run into tend to be either snobs or wackjobs. Or both.

Apparently, my time in Second Life was typical. Massive numbers of people check in, check out, and don’t check back in, while a small cadre of hardcore users keep the virtual world just alive enough to be annoying. But online journalists and bloggers write about it, amping up the hype, and generate another cycle of positive coverage of what amounts to the dullest online game ever. I guess nuke terrorists might spice that up, but just the other day I was talking with a friend about Second Life and my main sales point in that conversation has now been invalidated: I said that at least the Second Life world is jihad-free.

Update (Ian): I used to “play” Second Life” back in the day and there has always been people who like to cause trouble by blowing up bombs (which is just a massive explosion of code) to bring down servers. One time someone detonated a suicide bomb (rather, a push bomb). It’s not an act of terrorism, just a bunch of idiots.

(h/t Chris)