Geeky Posts

Ice Pack


Sci Fi Spelling Bee

scifi_spelling_bee.jpgOn April 18 I’m going to be hosting the first ever Sci Fi Spelling Bee at the Geek Prom and I need your help. I’m looking for words, terms, people and place names, and so on that are native to some science fiction franchise for use in the bee.

Please give me the following information for your entry.

Word (eg – phaser, Kashyyyk, frak)

Origin (what franchise) (eg – Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica)

Usage (eg – “Set your phaser to stun!” “Chewbacca went back to Kashyyyk.” “What the frak are you talking about?”)

If possible also give me some Documentation (a web link would be good) supporting your entry.

Also, these words don’t have to be hard. They can be fairly simple or intermediate words. They just have to be sci fi words.

So that we don’t spill the beans on all the words for the contestants, please don’t put them in the comments, but send them to me at [email protected].

Thanks for your help! This should be fun!

Attention Sr. Nerds


The Earlynerd Special is in effect. Discounted tickets to Geek Prom are available now online.

Listen to Jonathan Lee rant about Geek Prom on KUMD here.

Read about Geek Prom in Living North Magazine here. (You have to navigate to pages 24-25. I like that the story is in the Healthy Living section.)

Music at this year’s Geek Prom by Tim Kaiser, Paul Broman and Best Friends Forever.

Attention Jr. Nerds

UWS has an annual Science Night, and tonight is the night. We’ve gone the last couple years, and it’s a good time – for kids especially, but for adults too. Glowing goo, bugs, explosions, liquid nitrogen …  yeah.

6-9 PM, UWS Barstow Hall

Paper or Plastic?

Diaper Man!

Diaper Man!

Alyssa reminded me today that we can ask each other questions on PDD and get some great localized answers.  So, I have three questions to ask the collective PDD wisdom/snark base.   Yes three, but I’ll stick to two for now.

Question #1 I am blessed with a new baby that is coming sometime in the next several weeks.  For my first two girlies I used plastic diapers without any prejudice.  However, with this one, my partner has been advocating for the use of re-usable cloth diapers.  And I am going along on this, and not just because I have to, but because I want to.   In fact, I am washing my first batch of cloth diapers now (just out of the package).  I am interested in stories, experiences and advice on the reusable diaper front from a local perspective, I’m especially interested in stuff like logistics, tips and tricks, price savings, and if anyone has any theories of actual savings and environmental benefits, etc.  For the record, the plan is to breast feed this child, I know that makes a difference.  And, because she is on parental leave indefinitely I suspect she will be doing quite a bit more of the changing, but I will probably do most or all of the laundry, so the decision affects us both. I would also entertain general earth friendly baby advice, offers of free stuff you think we could use, and good infant activity ideas around the area as this will be my first new one in 6 years.

Question #2 Is almost completely unrelated, however, I hope it will produce some fascinating advice mash-ups.  Here goes, during my long period of unemployment and underemployment I archived nearly all of the wild goose music library onto a hard drive for eternal use.  Then, being broke I sold as many of those cds as I could to pay for stuff like food, bills and (until I quit) cigarrettes).  I also gave many that could not sell away because I just didn’t think I “needed” anymore.  So … things have been going just fine until … the last few weeks.  I got a new laptop and thousands of the dang things won’t play.  the reason is that over the course of the last few years I have used a number of junker computers and all of them are gone now.  The digital files are wma’s with DRM and the windows site says that I have downloaded the license too many times.  This is very troubling as it looks like those are just “ghost files” that I will never be able to play ever again, and being a (retired) DJ I still kind of need them sometimes, not to mention WANT to listen to them.  I have looked into a number of different ways of removing the drm on various bulletins, etc online and it all seems very confusing and many of them also seem very pirate-like.  I am not interested in slinking around in the shadows (much)  since these are all things that I prchased legally and feel like I “own” and I feel I should be allowed to use them on any coputer I own, or any computer anywhere for that matter.  So … looking for advice and experience with this matter as well.  Oh and if posible I would like to do this for free.  But would pay something if I knew what was the best way to proceed.

Happy Pi Day!


Today is Pi Day (3.14) – now recognized by the US government!

011001000110100101 1001110110100101 1101000110000101101100


In the shower this morning I was thinking about how the digital lifestyle is taking over my old analog self. I rarely play LP’s or CD’s anymore, Pandora and Podcasts are replacing radio, I read books on my iPhone, get recipes online and communicate with Facebook and Twitter. Many of these tools replace things I used to spend money on which is good for me but I wonder where this will all lead? Papers are going under, bands can’t sell nearly as many CD’s and I’m sure Publishers will see a loss in sales of books now that they are going digital.

I’m not sure what my point is but I am curious how others have adapted/adopted to the digital lifestyle. Is digital good for the human race?

RIAA\Record Companies Back in Duluth

Slashdot has a write up on some new, good news:

Cliff Dwellers Spin/Fact Check

As an Alien Anthropologist I think it’s worth pointing out that the original “cliffdwellers” were actually really advanced, built really amazing houses, and had some fairly sophisticated technologies and social structures. The term “cliffdwellers” doesn’t really work as an insult–it’s like saying “you advanced people who know how to build really cool houses, make great pots and baskets, feed yourselves using your own knowledge, and know how to keep mice outta the corn bin.”

Here’s some info:

Attn Duluth Bloggers

…and other folks creatively using e-technologies.

The Blandin Foundation and E-Democracy.Org are bringing an “unconference” to Duluth, April 3-4, 2009.

The unconference is supported through an online discussion for people using new media technologies to build community across Greater Minnesota.

Learn more and join from

Party Like It’s 1234567890!

At 5:23:30 pm today (about 6 hours from now), the Unix time will be “1234567890” (Epoch Time). Geeky Sweet!

What the heck is Unix Time?
When can I raise a toast to the Unix clock?

Creating a Gravatar

By now you may have noticed PDD’s Gravatars, the little personalized images that appear next to each of the comments. Some people already have personalized Gravatars, but right now your comments probably display our default image. Want a personalized Gravatar of your own? It’s easy.

How do I get my own Gravatar?

Click here to visit and upload your own image. You will have to sign up for a free account at that site. All you need is an image and an email address.

When you return to PDD, simply use the same email address you used at Your images should automatically appear whenever you make comments on this or any other site that enables Gravatars.

Should you need this information in the future, we’ve created a page in the help section.

Crazy Sortation Options

Okay, so while it’s pretty thin right now, I want to talk a bit about my favorite feature of the new PDD. The one that’s capable of revolutionizing the way I read the website. Author archives.

I bet you didn’t even know there were author archives. You’ll notice that under each post’s title, the author’s name is actually a hyperlink. Click it to see a list of everything that person has posted since PDD’s upgrade. Sure, there’s not much there now. But imagine a couple years’ worth of posts.

Here are some things that I find exciting about this feature.

1.) Individual sub-blogs. Think about it: If you can, in one click, see all posts made by one particular person, well, that’s a blog of its own, right? You can take a look at one person’s real estate in the PDD community. If you wanted to show someone the work you do at PDD, simply give them the link. It’s like a blog all your own.

1.a.) Author RSS feeds. You can even subscribe to an RSS feed for a particular PDD blogger, or link your own feed elsewhere on the web. We haven’t worked an automatic way to generate author feeds into the PDD system yet, but the feeds are there. is where each feed is located.

2) Bullshit detector. I’ve always held that every new thing you say on PDD carries the weight of everything you’ve previously said. The problem is, with so many members it’s hard to keep track of everyone’s ideals and history. Now, with one click you can easily read back-posts, and refresh your memory as to just what kind of an asshole or angel you’re dealing with.

I read recently that when confronted with new technology, a lot people just learn the rudimentary functions. Don’t be that person! PDD has crazy good features, customizable to fit your needs.

[Don’t] See the Twin Cities by Streetcar

Ever wonder where all the streetcars went? A subsidiary of GM bought them, burned them and put in a few buses and sold them back to the city once they were finally destroyed.

Here is a streetcar map of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1933!
Minneapolis and St. Paul by streetcar
map from here

Thanks hbh!

Taken for a Ride is a great documentary about this scandal.–38Cg&q=taken+for+a+ride

New PPD = WIN, New Banner Policy = FAIL

I am very happy that the PPD nerds continue to strive forward into the 21st century.  The switch from MT to WP was a fine platform choice and the chosen design is quite lovely.  A certain DIY aspect was lost however with the new banner submission process.

I’ll detail my complaints in order:

  • The Perfect Duluth Day logo will be added by PDD’s art department.
  • You will not be notified if your photo has been accepted or rejected.
Personally, the best part banner making is choosing where the PDD logo goes, how it blends into and becomes part of the photo, etc.  Also I really enjoyed the immediate thrill of seeing the banner live immediately after posting.  I can think of many times I sat there and refreshed my browser until I’d see my submission.
I would wholeheartedly enjoy a re-thinking of this policy.  Perhaps the addition of the logo by the artist could be allowed yet approval still required?  My $0.02.  As always, keep up the good work, staffers.