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Where's my virtual toaster?

We've all heard the saying "there's a sucker born every minute" (incorrectly attributed to P.T. Barnum). Now Second Life has proven beyond a doubt how closely its virtual world mirrors the real world.

A story in today's Wall Street Journal reported on Linden Lab's decision to shut down failing banks in Second Life, the company's online game. One line from the story says it all: "(the company) pulled the plug on about a dozen pretend financial institutions funded with actual money from some of the 12 million registered users of Second Life."

That's right, real people invested money in pretend banks. But, to be fair, some of the banks had offered 200% annual interest. Seems reasonable to me.

Perhaps Second Life needs to create an avatar for Alan Greenspan. He did a decent job in First Life.