... There is much rigorous, scientific work to do at both actual and virtual Harbin Hot Springs, to complement ethnographic research about Harbin in its own terms.
While there are clearly too many variables for rigorous comparison, ethnography allows ethnographers the freedom to formulate questions (as does 'hard' science) concerning how such a comparison might take form, and then explore these in writing and now multimedia. Since comparison is key component of this actual / virtual Harbin ethnography, both the generation of virtual Harbin, vis-a-vis somewhat already well-formed, and emerged, actual Harbin, how might this ethnography engage the differences of these Harbins ethnographically, and in terms of actual Harbin's pool-centric milieu coming out of the 1960s (countercultural culture)? One (virtual Harbin) is emerge-able, the other (actual Harbin) emerged. One process involves being-in and participant observation, the other involves making, then engaging digitally, via being-in and participant observation. One involves Harbin life yet to be seen, and the other involves actual release in the pools, observation of the relaxation response among individuals and couples, observation of the the unique serendipities and synchronicities emergent in the pools and in the Harbin valley. This virtual / actual distinction, and comparison, makes much rich, emergent ethnography fruitful.
On the other hand, in terms of constructive, critical questioning, are virtual worlds 'in their own terms' too close to actual worlds for ethnographic study since we, the creators of virtual Harbin, will draw so much from actual Harbin? ...
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/11/big-island-hot-springs-actual-virtual.html - November 4, 2010)