For those of you who only take light doses of geekdom let me explain: Second Life is a 3-D virtual world that's built and owned by its residents. It opened to the public in 2003, but is now inhabited by more than 6,240,591 people from around the globe, who create avatars of themselves, buy land, spend money, go shopping and do all the other things you might do in the non-virtual world. "From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity," says the Second Life website. "Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business."
Currently, the phenomenon is filled with high profile appearances and a rapidly expanding list of residents - last summer Suzanne Vega became the first major recording artist to perform live in Second Life avatar form, American Apparel opened a virtual store, and L'Oreal Paris even held a Miss Second Life beauty contest. It's also home to some controversy. Last week, a ginormous media circus occured after a German TV station alleged there was child pornography in the community. According to reports, the claims were found to be inaccurate (the accused man was 54 and the woman was 27), but nonetheless, the community is back in the public eye.