M53 Programming Brainstorm

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Minicon 53 (2018) will take place March 30-April 1, 2018, at the St. Louis Park Doubletree.

THE MINICON 53 PROGRAMMING BRAINSTORM WIKI page is now open for business!

We intend to have a spiffy online database available eventually for managing programming ideas and volunteers. But until that project comes online, we have the good old Wiki Brainstorm.

  • Do you have ideas for programming items for Minicon 53?
  • Great! Please email programming@minicon53.mnstf.org with a description of your suggestion. The description does not need to be in final form, but the more detail the better. Please indicate if you would be willing to participate in the programming item yourself, and if you would like to moderate it.
  • If you have a login to edit this page and you are comfortable editing a Wiki, feel free to add your ideas below. It would be nice if you would drop a quick email to programming@minicon53.mnstf.org to let us know that you added something.
  • If you are an author and would like to schedule a reading and/or signing, send an email to programming@minicon53.mnstf.org.

  • To volunteer to be a panelist, send an email to programming@minicon53.mnstf.org.

Your email should include the titles of the panels that you are interested in, schedule limitations, and whether or not you would consider moderating any of the panels that you're volunteering for.



Sex in Cyberspace: Tinder, Porn, and You

What are the most interesting and important way technology has already changed sex, relationships, and dating? Has the definition of sex changed? How will technology affect sex in the future?

The evolution of the fan T-shirt

Convention t-shirts over the years. How did the T-shirt get to be the "thing" to get? Do we own enough t-shirts yet? Who wears printed t-shirts besides fans and children?

I am not Chuck Tingle

"Doctor Chuck Tingle, a taekwondo grandmaster from Billings, Montana, who acquired a PhD in holistic massage at DeVry University (which does not offer such a degree), was the clear savior of the 2015 Hugo award, and continues to be a delight. Dr. Tingle has yet to make a public appearance, and speculations about identity are easy to come by.

Who is Chuck Tingle? What are our best Chuck Tingle theories? "

Fannish Imposter Syndrome


Ask a Scientist

A panel of varied scientists answers questions from the audience. This is a perennially popular Minicon panel, and we will certainly do it again at Minicon 53 - provided we can find enough qualified panelists. We'll even split it into two if we get enough volunteers - maybe soft vs. hard science or whatever sorting mechanism seems appropriate.

Raspberry Pi discussion

What can be done with a Raspberry Pi (and why)?

All About Sleep

Sleeping is pretty awesome, right? Or would life be better if we didn't have to sleep? Why do people need to sleep, anyway? And are some people just better at it than others?

The Cassini Project: Out in a Blaze of Glory

On September 15, the Cassini probe completed its spectacularly successful investigation of Saturn by plunging into the planet's atmosphere and burning up, transmitting images until the end. In its 20-year career Cassini revealed the structure of Saturn's rings and exposed two of the moons as prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. It would be great to have an item at Minicon including a slideshow of some of the images Cassini transmitted and why it was so awesome.


Podcasting as an Art Form

The explosion in podcast technology makes audio drama and audio books ever more accessible (for both listeners and would-be creators). How does the experience of listening to an audio book differ from reading it? Is audio drama essentially different from simply reading a story aloud? And is the serial podcast a whole new form of literature?

Waaaaaaaaaaaay up your butt. The Rick and Morty Panel

It's a figure of speech, Morty! They're bureaucrats! I don't respect 'em... Where are my testicles, Summer? They were removed. Where have they gone? Let's get Schwifty! All the Rick and Morty quotes you can handle, plus other favorites from Adult Swim.

DC on Screen

There is a divide in how well DC Movies and TV shows work out. Why do DC superheroes seem to work better on the small screen, but Marvel dominates in the theater? What about the animated movies?

The Westworld Panel

It's no longer a fresh sf idea to yell, "The robots are sentient! RUN!!" Now we want to know how and why they achieved sentience and what the ethical implications are going to be for all of us. How does Westworld's take on sentience compare to the other popular shows and movies currently tackling the same subject matter? (Humans, Extant, Her, Ex Machina). Not to mention good old Bladerunner. Am I the only one that was reminded of Stephenson's Snow Crash when Dr. Ford started explaining the theory of the bicameral mind? For that matter, how many of the humans on this show actually meet the high standards for sentience defined by the park's creators? Who really has more self-awareness and agency: Maeve or Felix and Sylvester?


Crappy Card Magic Draft

Get rid of some Magic The Gathering cards that never really fit in with your other decks, and maybe gain something useful (probably not). Bring 30 lands (six of each color) and 45 other cards, approximately half spells and half creatures (You can tell if an artifact is closer to a spell or a creature by reading the card). We'll shuffle them all together, then build a 60 card deck with a draft style allocation, and then play. Do not bring cards that you expect to get back.


Yarning Around

We'll keep having panels about knitting and yarn for as long as people keep volunteering for them.

Flounce Like You Mean It

Probably about costuming. Maybe about how to stop attending a convention or quit a facebook group. We just liked the title.


Typically these items need only one volunteer - someone to lead/coordinate the event. But feel free to suggest more like this.

EV and Hybrid Vehicles in the Parking Lot

Are you considering an EV or Hybrid vehicle? Meet EV and Hybrid vehicle owners and their cars. What features do they like and dislike? Are public charging stations worth it? What are the benefits of having a level 2 charging station in your home? We'd love to have some volunteers to show off their own vehicles and to contact a dealer or two to bring in vehicles.


Hang out with other knitters while knitting your knittables. Bring and demonstrate your favorite yarn gadget. Crochet will also be tolerated.

Group Yoga on Sunday Morning

Relax and stretch to help your energy level, your concentration and your balance

Model Building

It's great to work on something while other people are around, but not actually have to talk to them. It's called "Parallel Play" and toddlers do it all the time. Now shut up and let me concentrate on my model.

Raspberry Pi interactive session

Bring your own keyboard, mouse, monitor and raspberry pi. All skill levels welcome.


If you know what this is, you might be the leader we are looking for!

Poetry Open Mic


Maybe classifying programming items is just stupid and arbitrary and all the ideas should go here. I'm having a hard time figuring it out this year. If you have an idea what category these items ought to be in, let me know.

Ask An Expert Who Can Get A Word In Edgewise

Women from identified professional backgrounds discuss and answer questions about their field.

Could You Kill a Robot?

This might be The Westworld Panel in disguise.

Who Has Your Password?

If you died tomorrow, who would manage your digital legacy? We have so many passwords, so many accounts. Could your partner pay the bills - do they know the bank account password? What happens to your frequent flyer miles? Who would stop Facebook from ghoulishly reminding all your friends to wish you a happy birthday each year? We could also discuss the concept of "literary executor" for unpublished and non- written word material.