Cyberpunk fans rejoice--according to the USC Annenberg Digital Future Project, we are getting closer to the day when the majority of people prefer virtual worlds to RL (that real life for you n00bs).
Of course, we still have a ways to go before we reach the Matrix, or even Jim Cameron's upcoming Avatar (curses, thanks to Cameron finally getting the mojo to make the movie, the famous unproduced script has been yanked). Here's the actual quote from the USC Annenberg Digital Future Project:
43 percent of Americans who belong to online communities say they feel just as strongly about their virtual worlds as their real-world counterparts.
Nonetheless, that's a pretty striking statement. Close to half of those who participate in virtual worlds feel as strongly about their online life as their meatspace one. Which tells me that while the current wave of Second Life stories are definitely overhyped, the underlying direction is dead on. There's gold in them thar virtual hills!