Archive for the ‘Blog Admin’ Category

Final Post on Biodork

February 9, 2012

But not really. It IS my final post on, though – because I’m MOVING!

And I’m not even begging you to help me move boxes! Just to update your links and RSS feeds.

Guys. GUYS! This is really exciting.

I’ve been invited to move this blog over to the FreeThought Blogs network. For those of you who don’t know what that means, let me just say that THIS. IS.

That’s right. This is handmade-silly-sign-photographed-in-my-pajamas HUGE.

I’m SO excited. But first, a little information: A blog network is a group of individual blogs gathered under one umbrella. This type of setup is nice because fans of one blog get exposed to other similar blogs, and the blogs get more exposure from new readers. In this case, the similarity is that all of the bloggers are “Freethinkers” – we’re all atheists of one stripe or another, and we tend to blog either a little or a lot about atheism, infringements of church and state, humanism, and other related topics. Some of the blogs on the network are devoted primarily to exploring religion or atheism, some have a focus on politics or civil liberties, or diversity, or are more personal (like mine). They are all unique and owned by their authors.

One reason why this is exciting for me is because some of my favorite, most inspiring atheist bloggers are already in this network: Blag Hag, Pharyngula, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Greg Laden’s X-Blog, Almost Diamonds, The Lousy Canuck, Greta Christina’s Blog, JT Eberhard, Digital Cuttlefish, Camels With Hammers, En Tequila Es Verdad. I’m not going to hyperlink all of these, but you can find them on the FreeThought Blogs front page (ooo…see how handy that network thing just was?).

But Biodork is not changing.

I don’t have to change one damn thing about the way I post, or what I post, or how often I post. The shell will look a little different, but the content will be staying mostly the same. The only thing that is changing are the pop-up ads. I know, I know! Ads are annoying, but they’re how FTB pays the bills. And hey, if you feel like clicking on an ad now and then, you’ll be supporting me and I’ll be grateful.

I’ve had some incredible commenters and discussions, tons of fun visitor interaction with the First World Problems Contest and the Close Up Photo Contest (CUP Update: Carly just got back to me with a blog topic, and I’m in the middle of putting together the winners’ photo books), and I’ve had a place opine, expound and to record and share some really neat life experiences. And that’s all going to continue over at Biodork v2.0. I’m in the process of transferring my archives, and my pages are already there.

Thanks for reading, and I do hope you’ll follow me next door to my new house:

If you have questions, concerns or comments about the move, let me know in the comments or send a private email to me at bio_dork(at)hotmail(dot)com, or contact me on Twitter (@abiodork), or let me know via any of the other gazillion ways we might be connected!

How Is It Wednesday Already?

February 1, 2012

I’m working on three different blog posts, including a super-dandy write up about the awesomeness that was my weekend trip to Chicago for Skepticamp. Things have been pretty crazy though and I’ve barely had had time to sleep, what getting back to Minneapolis late on Sunday, having to save unconscious humans from demons on Monday night with my roleplaying group (GURPS this time around), trying to pull together an interview script for this Sunday’s Atheists Talk radio show with singer-songwriter, Shelley Segal, putting together guns for this weekend’s EPIC Nerf War (yeah, there’s a photo that goes with that below), offering up a red dress to the Blogess’s Traveling Red Dress Project, and reading this hilarious blog (casually and frequently dropped F-bombs may make it NSFW) that I just discovered. So I haven’t actually gotten to any photo editing or writing, and I wouldn’t foist crappy writing off on this blog.*  But I haven’t even had time to pull together crappy writing because I’m too busy loving my life. Don’t you hate when that happens?

So until things calm down, here’s a couple of photos of people making funny faces:

Here’s Jeremy from the ever thought-provoking, humorous, breathtaking, snarky Le Cafe Witteveen. I was pleased as punch to be able to catch up with Monsieur Witteveen at Chicago Skepticamp on Saturday. In this shot he’s giving me his best grumpy old man face.

Come and get some! The Hubby shows off our new firearms for what is promising to be an epic Nerf battle at Supercon this weekend. Yeah…they’re battery operated and fully automatic.

*That’s a BIG FAT LIE. Crappy writing is one of the many services offered here at Biodork.

SOPA and PIPA Blackouts

January 17, 2012

Yeah, so…I guess there’s no Wikipedia tomorrow.

Image Source

I started hearing about the SOPA/PIPA Blackouts today on Twitter. I am an internet junkie – I love blogs and social media. I love instant access to news, maps, updates from friends and family. I am a content-generator and sharer – I blog at two websites and read about 40-60 new blog entries every day. Okay, some of those get more browsed than read, but you get the picture.

However, I am not all that internet savvy. I’m a biology major who went to college when computer science courses were for nerds who had a much better understanding of math than I did. To be fair, that’s probably still true. So, I don’t know how the internet works. I know how to navigate some of the more popular areas of the internet, and that’s about as deep as I get.

But it caught my attention when I learned that Wikipedia and WordPress – the website that hosts this Biodork blog – are “going dark” tomorrow, Wednesday January 18th, 2012, to protest these two bills moving through Congress. I decided that I needed to learn more about SOPA (Stop Internet Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) and to try to find out for myself if they are as offensive and dangerous as some groups and people are saying.

I found this blog post at ABC News. It seems like a easy, non-technical introduction to the SOPA/PIPA controversy. It briefly explains the SOPA and PIPA bills, the ideas behind them, the objections to the bills, and the protest movement that has arisen in response to the bills. It also has current updates on the state of SOPA and PIPA in the Senate and House.

Over at, there is a simple infographic that lists the implications of SOPA/PIPA becoming law.

Then I searched WordPress to find out why my particular blogging site is participating in the protests. I found this article entitled Help Stop SOPA/PIPA published last week (01/10/12). The post isn’t very good at explaining the details of SOPA and PIPA, instead leaving that job to a Vimeo video called “Protect IP / SOPA Act Breaks the Internet” on a site called fightforthefuture/PIPA.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

The video says that PIPA will “give the right to censor the internet to the entertainment industry”.

It explains that “Private corporations want the ability to shut down unauthorized sites where people download movies, TV shows and music.” And that because most of these sites exist outside the US and US jurisdiction, corporations will focus their efforts on shutting down and blocking funding of the infringing sites  by going after US-based search engines, directories, blogs, forums, advertisers and payment services.

It highlights some problems with the bills – that it won’t stop downloading, but will encourage less secure work-arounds by hackers, that it would allow corporations to sue companies that they feel aren’t doing a thorough enough job to try to stop copyright violations on their websites, that other countries may follow in our footsteps, leading to “different internets in different countries” and giving unscrupulous governments powerful tools to hinder free expression, and it points out that corporations already have legislation in place to fight piracy.

The video ends with this:

Now the government and corporations could block any site, foreign or domestic, just for one infringing link. Sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook would have to censor their users or get shut down since they become liable for everything users post. And ordinary users could go to jail for five years for posting any copyrighted work – even just singing a pop song.

That’s a freaking scary idea, isn’t it?

In other circumstances I’d like to learn more, to speak with people who I think have a better grasp on the implications of SOPA and PIPA than I do. But tomorrow is a country-wide day of protest against these bills, and if they really are as big of a danger as they appear to be in my limited research, then I want to add my voice with other protestors.

So tomorrow I will take a chance of erring in support of those who say that SOPA and PIPA pose a threat to our security, our free speech, our ability to freely share content and exchange ideas with most of the world, and our access to some of our most cherished and important social and media-sharing websites. These freedoms are too precious to not stand up and ask for those in Congress to proceed with caution.

I am not going to “black out” my site. I want to leave this post up here and visible tomorrow. But I will add the ribbon, I will contact my Senators and Representatives with my concerns, and I will try to keep up with the SOPA and PIPA bills as they move through Congress. I will also limit my online activity tomorrow, including this blog.

Am I wrong? Am I missing something? Can you clarify any of the points that I mentioned above? I’d love your input in the comments below. I’ll read them and respond to them…on Thursday.

Back at it!

July 6, 2011

Author’s Note: Mom was here for two full weeks, and it was a blast! While she was here we did all sorts of fun things, and I also neglected a few things. Like dishes. And laundry. And my husband. And blogging. Mom left Minneapolis on Tuesday morning and is continuing her journey westward toward my sister’s hometown of Bellingham, WA. Yesterday evening I did dishes, vacuumed, cleaned the cat’s litterbox and took out the garbage. Tonight I get to blog, edit photos and Flickrize.


Okay, I wrote that last paragraph two hours ago. I’ve started two skepticism-based posts, and I’ve realized way too late in the game that both are going to require a little more research and brain power than I have left in the stores this evening. Rather than put out a shoddy article, I’m going to tip my hat to you fine readers and leave you with a couple of picture from the adventures of the past two weeks. I thought about captioning them, but after flipping through these gems a few times I decided that they were more fun without any context.

And yes, that is a dancing urine cup. Nighty-night!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Interwebs – you waited for me!

June 14, 2011

I wasn’t sure you’d still be here when I got back!

So, yeah. Hey.

How ya doing, Internet? My name’s Brianne, and I’ve been out of you for about a week and a half now, but I’m super excited about getting back into you.

Work has been crazy, but in a good way. I like being busy, having challenging goals and deadlines to meet. The frustrations are frustrating, but the wins are AWESOME. But there have been some long hours…about 120 of them in the past two weeks.

So I’ve been struggling to stay abreast of the latest online news, and holy crap has there been some. Sadly, I haven’t had a lot of time to process – let alone blog – some of the best stuff. And the Tonys…I missed the Tonys! I was going to bring chicken pot pie, chocolate salty balls and cheesy poofs to a friend’s house to watch the Tonys and show my support for The Book of Mormon, but turns out they didn’t need my contribution – they took home NINE  freaking Tonys! Woo-hoo!

Oooo…oh yeah, and I have a netbook now, and I’ve been doing my Rosetta Stone for Spanish. If there is ever a young male underneath a table, or if a boy and girl are in a boat, I can totally tell you so in two languages. Awwww yeah!

In between running assays and writing reports, I have managed to sneak in a few chapters of Pyramids, by Terry Pratchett. I’m a grudging fan of the Discworld series; I grew up on Piers Anthony’s Xanth – back then there were no other fantasy worlds as far as I was concerned. So, I missed out on Ankh-Morpork until just recently when some good friends re-introduced me to the books. And actually, these friends are involved with putting on the North American Discworld Convention that is taking place in Madison in a few weeks – there are still tickets available, you guys. If you’re a fan, you should go; Sir Terry is going to be present and there are all types of art, theater, role-play, storytelling, costuming and other Discworld merriments to be had. Did I mention that it’s in Madison, Wisconsin – a mere four hours away from the Twin Cities?

So, no news or rants today, but to wrap it up I want to share a couple of my favorite quotes so far from the Harper paperback 2008 edition of Pyramids: 

On gods physically walking among men:

And Dil was realizing that there are few things that so shake belief as seeing, clearly and precisely, the object of that belief. Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn’t believing. It’s where belief stops, because it isn’t needed anymore. -page 178

On camels, the greatest mathematicians in the history of Discworld:

Human mathematical development had always been held back by everyone’s instinctive tendency, when faced with something really complex in the way of triform polynomials or parametric differentials, to count fingers. Camels started from the word go by counting numbers.

Deserts were a great help, too. There weren’t many distractions. As far as camels were concerned, the way to mighty intellectual development was to have nothing much to do and nothing to do it with. -page 193

Absolutely awesome, odd, engaging fantasy storytelling.

See you tomorrow!

Blog Admin: Links

April 8, 2011

It was time for a little spring cleaning around here!

My links were getting out of control for a while. I’ve removed most of the inactive sites and organized the remaining links in an order that is certainly more friendly for me. Take a look through the categories in the sidebar and go visit some of these marvelous websites and blogs. If you run a blog or website that you think I would enjoy and that you would like to appear in my blog roll, write a comment to this post and I’ll check it out!

And we’re back!

March 20, 2011

It’s been a crazy busy March and I took a lovely break from everything, including updating the blog. But we’ll be getting back to the regularly scheduled program now, and I can’t wait to share all of the fun times I’ve had at MarsCon, down in Cozumel and all sorts of other little adventures.


MarsCon 2011 Teaser Photo

March 8, 2011

I’ve been crazy busy. Last weekend I  was at MarsCon, a fantasy/scifi convention in Bloomington, MN and this week I’m preparing for a trip to Cozumel. Rough life, I know.  Plus I have two standing engagements this week; Monday I was gaming and Thursday I’m going to monthly meeting of the Minneapolis Skeptics. That leaves Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to blog and do all those things that one does before going on vacation.

I have some fun stories and pictures from MarsCon, but I haven’t had time to write them up or to go through the photos in any detail yet. For now I’ll leave you with this photo from the very beginning of the convention. People are taking seats for opening ceremonies. My good friend Mark is in the foreground modeling his new, super-sexy Clark Kent glasses.

More to come!


Oh heck, the seating photo was pretty bland. Have a photo of drunk, middle-aged He-Man from the opening ceremonies production:

Hehehe. Gotta love the fearless nerds and geeks.

Talk to Me!

January 20, 2011

I’ve added a new page to the Biodork blog called “Talk to Me!” It will be a permanent link available in the right sidebar under “Pages”.  On this page I list my contact info and reasons why I think you should Talk to Me! such as to:

  • Tell me about a COOL STORY or LINK.
  • Inquire about being a GUEST BLOGGER.
  • Invite ME to be a GUEST BLOGGER on your site.
  • Inquire about being a Biodork ARTIST
  • DONATE a Prize or SPONSOR a Contest.

To learn more about my ideas for any of the above, I invite you to visit my Talk to Me! page.

Blog Traffic

October 4, 2010

I know I’ve talked about why I blog, but in the past week I’ve had three people ask me about how I get new commenters and new visitors to my blog.  There are tons of resources on how to increase traffic to your blog (google “how do I increase traffic to my blog”).  But people have asked me, so here are my thoughts.

I am a new blogger – I’ve only had this blog since December 2009 – but my site hits have been gradually increasing over time. 

May 2010 was an oddity – I was published on the frontpage.

I don’t get a ton of hits, but I get enough to hold my interest, and to make writing regularly worth it on the days when I don’t necessarily want to write.  These are some of the factors that I believe play a role in getting people to check out my blog, and to keep them coming back:

Cross-publishing on Facebook and Twitter.  I get most of my regular, returning readers from Facebook.  I think that a lot of people don’t like to subscribe to receive email updates, so FB and Twitter provide an opportunity to unobtrusively knock on the door when I have new posts.  Also, I have friends and family who do FB, but don’t read a lot of blogs.  FB connects them to me. 

Including popular, controversial or unique words in my posts.  Sex, circumcision, diet, porno, Marilyn Monroe, atheism, ValleyScare.  All of these words have coincided with a bump in my viewership and my google search hits.  One of my favorite bloggers, Jeremy from Cafe Witteveen, put the word “vuvuzela” into one of his posts during this summer’s World Cup and received a generous boost in his viewership.   This is a good way to get people to glance once at my blog, but not a great way to gain loyal, returning readers. 

Getting noticed by bigger blogs so that they publicize for me.  I consider this to be one of the coolest things that has happened to me during my time in the blogosphere, and yes, even more than being published on Jen from BlagHag took notice of my blog and thought it was decent enough to add it to her Recommended Reading List.  Whenever I add a new post, her blog updates so that my post shows up in the left-hand column.   I usually get ~10 hits per day redirected from her site.  I also show up on some blog rolls on other sites and get occasional hits from those.  It’s audience bias – when the bloggers who have an interest in reading me put my blog on their website, chances are decent that their readers will also have an interest in what I’m writing.

Posting early.  Or late.  It seems like I get a rush of hits in the morning, a smaller bump over the lunch hour and then after 5pm.  These are the times when regular readers check their blogs, and I try to publish accordingly.

But whenever I post, I try to post regularly.  I’ve talked with other bloggers and blog readers about this, and it seems to be a popular idea that even if you post once per day, if you post in a predictable manner you’re going to retain regular readership.  People want to know that the stop at my site is going to be worth it.  I like to publish early in the day (but that doesn’t always happen).     

The more I post, the more I show up in google.  Seems pretty obvious, but as my content has grown, I’ve been suprised at some of the searches that lead to my blog.  I have found that some of my past posts are bolstering site visit numbers on days that I don’t publish new material.  Google has sent quite a few visitors my way for a few select search phrases:  Ada Lovelace, ValleyScare 2010, Green Porno, Pi Necklace, MN Renaissance, Chikage Windler, Gluten Free Pancakes, Girl in the Rain.

Get lucky enough to be published on   At the time my blog was chosen for the WordPress front page I was getting an average of maybe 25 hits/day.  I received 1,383 hits that day.  As soon as I disappeared from the front page my hits came back down, but my daily average moved up to about 35 hits/day. 

Getting site hits has never been the purpose of my blog.  I enjoy writing about what I’m up to and sharing cool, geeky, science, political and social news.  But having readership – especially an active readership that comments, debates and commiserates with me about the things that I write – is definitely a bonus. 

Thanks for stopping by.