The high cost of inaction on rural broadband

Longtime readers know my position on rural broadband. In short, I view it as one important part of blended strategy to diversify the economy of Northern Minnesota. To extend the fastest and highest capacity delivery system would mean more fiber optic lines buried underground. This is the most obvious and also the most expensive way… Read More →

Minnesota bug clouds tripping radar balls?

Here in Northern Minnesota, the deer flies are always bad this time of year. They’re worse this year. Everybody’s talking about deer flies. And they may have even showed up on radar. But first, some thoughts about radar. Every day I pass by the Nashwauk Radar Ball, a mysterious white orb overlooking Highway 65 north… Read More →

Republican Pete Stauber to run for Congress in MN-8

(Post updated Monday, July 10) On Monday, St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber of Hermantown announces a run for Congress in Northeastern Minnesota’s Eighth District. He becomes the first Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL-Crosby) for the 2018 cycle. Stauber, a one-time West Duluth hockey star and longtime Duluth police officer, has… Read More →

MN Power’s natural gas plant shows changing industry

Last week, Minnesota Power announced it would build a new natural gas power plant in Superior with Wisconsin-based Dairyland Power Cooperative as a partner. From a Brooks Johnson story in the Duluth News Tribune: “It’s really about giving customers affordable, reliable, less carbon-intensive energy,” Julie Pierce, Minnesota Power vice president of strategy and planning, told the… Read More →

Journalists should be ashamed of delicious Doritos™ air drop

ID: Hey, ego! Did you see that they’ll be dropping Doritos™ Heat Wave chips over the city of Duluth at noon today? All the TV stations promoted it on the news! You should blog about that. EGO: Yes, but I can’t report that. It’s just a free ad for Doritos. ID: Doritos™ — and what’s… Read More →

Duluth-Superior Film Festival opens today

Summer movie season has arrived, and if you’re like me you’ve noticed a sea of derivative retreads slated for our cinema multiplexes. “Blah Blah IV.” “Blah Blah: The Remake.” “Blah Blah: Based on the Popular Video Game.” The film industry has always balanced its urge for creativity with its need for money. It seems money… Read More →

There be titanium dioxide in them thar’ hills

If you’ve never heard of titanium dioxide, you’d qualify as normal. But you’ve probably used white paint, eaten red candy, or applied sunscreen before. All of those products use titanium dioxide. So do plastics and some electronics. The stuff sells at $3,200 per metric ton. Today, researchers release a report showing that the Iron Range region could… Read More →

Dylan Fest 2017 honors Northern MN’s own Bob Dylan

Every May, Bob Dylan’s shared hometowns of Duluth, where he was born, and Hibbing, where he grew up, celebrate music, poetry and culture in his honor. This year, Dylan is fresh off his Nobel Prize for Literature. And while the former Bobby Zimmerman isn’t expected to appear at this year’s festivities, a full lineup of… Read More →

FitBit names Duluth ‘fittest city in America’

In what’s either a tremendous bragging point or a disturbing product of a corporate surveillance state, FitBit announced this week that Duluth, Minnesota, is the “fittest city in America.” FitBit formed this conclusion from tracking fitness data like steps, activity and sleep duration from its customers across the nation. To be perfectly fair, all this… Read More →

Short film shot in Duluth shows horror of modern workplace

What drives the modern worker? Is it money? Ambition. Or have we been conditioned to press on with increasingly meaningless office tasks in fear of what might happen if we ever stop? Perhaps, like the shark who must swim to survive, the office worker must print, copy and collate. “Take Your Non-Vaporous Apparition to Work… Read More →