I originally wrote this for Second Opinion, Linden Lab's internal newsletter. It was going to appear as the "Fab Five"... in what turned out to be the issue after the last issue. Oops. Since it never saw light of day there, I figured I'd post it here.
It's been a number of months since I wrote this. Were I doing it now, there may be some other sites I would have been tempted to include. In particular, the weekly Science Friday broadcasts are something not to be missed. The in-world broadcats, complete with the lively discussions we have in text while listening and the occasional question from a Second Life avatar read on-air happen at the Science Friday Island.
An interactive weather map that shows the current weather in cities across the United states— temperatures, cloud cover, and rainfall. This map is located at the landing point for the Science School in SciLands. SciLands is a collection of several estates all dedicated to science and technology. While you're here, wander around and take a look at the other nearby exhibits in the Science School region. These include Roger Amdahl's gravity exhibit/catapult, and his observational astronomy/telescope exhibit, as well as a museum put together by the 'Splo and Amiee Weber featuring a tour of the solar system, displays about thermal radiation, molecular absorption, and the greenhouse effect, and a large central display about the March 29, 2006 solar eclipse.
The 'Splo is the Second Life presence of San Francisco's wonderful science museum known as The Exploratorium. In here you will a find a number of displays and hands-on exhibits about science, and about thoughtfully observing the world around you. The 'Splo's traditional location is as linked here in Midnight City, but they now have two estates (which are part of the SciLands): Sploland and their new neighboring island called "The Exploratorium".
Run by Texas Wesleyan University, and another member of the SciLands, this island features a number of exhibits about genetics, inheritance, and molecular and cell biology. Visit the display on protein replication, transport yourself inside a huge 3D model of a cell, stroll through the Abbey with exhibits about the laws of inheritance discovered by Gregor Mendel, explore cat genetics in the Cattery, or play (and contribute to) a fledgling genetics trivia game. A wonderful island with a nice atmosphere and a lot to entertain and illuminate somebody interested in biology.
Another region in the SciLands, this one has huge models of rockets built and flown by many countries from around the world. It has scale models of the Apollo lunar command and lander modules, and a cut-away model of the Hubble Space Telescope showing the light path through the telescope's primary and secondary mirrors. While you're here, wander into the neighboring regions, including the NASA Colab and JPL's Explorer Island.
A spiraling walking tour that takes you through 4.6 billion years of the history of our planet. Constructed by students in a class at the University of Arizona. And, yes, you can stand at the impact point as the dinosaur killing asteroid impacts with Earth! There's also a small exhibit about the process that Chris Impey (in SL: Cosmo Priestman) and Adrienne Gauthier (in SL: Ourania Fizgig) went through in deciding to run and running the class.