the skepticon blog
We just found out some news here at Skepticon HQ: A friend of ours recently passed away. Dr Victor Stenger was one of the first presenters that we reached out to when all of this started. Dr Stenger had a sharper approach to atheism than many inside the movement, and gave a voice to many people looking for an outlet.
He pushed us to new heights and urged us take our scientific understanding to a new level. Victor not only wanted to prove that people who believed in religion were misguided, he also wanted to educate them and try to give them an outlet to start to understand the world around them.
Victor will be missed and our thoughts go out to his wife.
Here is Victor’s talk from Skepticon 2:
For More information on Victor, our good friend Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist, wrote an article where he reached out to some of the people that knew him the best.
Good Bye Victor, Thank you for believing in us even before we understood what we were doing.
T-shirt pre-orders are here, get ‘em while they’re hot! What’s the advantage to pre-ordering, you ask? In order of importance: you’ll have your clothes for the first day of Skepticon already picked out, you get free shipping (shirts should ship at the beginning of November), and the cost for a shirt will go up from $20.00 when the event starts November 21st.
So show your never-ending love for Skepticon by ordering an official Skepticon 7 t-shirt! This shirt is a special 3-in-one deal! You get to clothe yourself, show off your SK7 swag, and help fund Skepticon! All profits on this super teal t-shirt go right back in to funding Skepticon! It doesn’t get much better than that, my lovely skepti-friends!
BUT WAIT, IT DOES!!! We’re doing a special bundle!!!!! Pre-order the SK7 shirt and get an SK6 shirt for only $5 bucks more! When you check out, please let us know the size and style you want in the comment section. We’ll do our best to accommodate your request with the remaining inventory we have! If you missed out on getting a Skepticon 6 shirt, this may be your last chance to cherish your lovely SK6 memories in shirt form!
I see you’re convinced. Here’s the link! Buy it now!
The design was created by artist Valentino Zamarripa and is printed locally in Springfield, MO by Swagbot. The high quality shirt itself is produced by Bella + Canvas LA. It’s a high quality 100% combed and ring-spun cotton in a lovely teal color. This shirt comes in unisex and fitted styles. If you need a size that isn’t listed on the website, please contact us at email@example.com.
Today is the second installment of our Speaker Spotlight. For those of you who have been attending Skepticon since the beginning, you’ll find some fresh new faces to get you all excited. For those of you who discovered Skepticon recently because your favorite speaker will be presenting with us, check out some of our “tenured” speakers and see what all the fuss is about. You can view any past Skepticon video on our website.
Skepticon is proud to present Ben Blanchard! Ben “SweaterVest” Blanchard is kind of a bad ass. Not the “Ben will meet you in the parking lot if you piss him off” kind of a bad ass. He’s more of the “world-traveling, child-educating, malaria-defeating, English-teaching, SSA-engaging as-he-looks-classy” kind of bad ass.
Ben is an activist who literally changes lives on a daily basis by working with the Student Secular Alliance stateside and the Pathfinders Project internationally. Ben has been all over the globe from Cambodia to Guatemala with Pathfinders, tutoring English and working with residents to develop low-impact environmental processes by encouraging respect for nature. Ben helps the SSA crew to empower students for a secular future. Go science!
Ben has agreed to waive any honorariums and fees to speak at Skepticon for free. Even still, it will cost us about $850.00 to pay for Ben’s airfare, taxis, and hotel room so that he can speak at Skepticon. If you’re excited to see him present, please consider donating to help cover the costs of getting him to Springfield, MO this November.
We have a sweet design for our official Skepticon 7 t-shirts, and we know you’re going to want one ASAP! That’s why we’re setting up a fabulous pre-order deal for you amazing Skepti-teers! The details like cost and the shipping date will be released on Friday the 29th when the pre-order goes live, but we thought you all would like a sneak peek at the shirt design. Isn’t it pretty!?! Check back in on Friday and get one of your very own! You’ll be in good company when SK7 rolls around as you’ll be one of the best dressed attendees!
While you wait these terribly long 2 days, head over to our speaker bio page or our policies page and read up. You’ll be the best dressed AND the most prepared attendee! Also, if you wanted to drop us a donation so *we* can get prepared for *you* we certainly would appreciate it!
Hugs & Kisses.
Hi, Bart, your friendly neighborhood web site nerd here.
Here at Skepticon HQ we host our website on Digital Ocean a “Virtual Private Server” service. It usually costs us about $10 a month to host our very own virtual server in the cloud. But thanks to a promo going on right now with Digital Ocean you can get $10 in Digital Ocean credit to try your hand at hosting your own website in the cloud. Or run a your own cloud minecraft server, or whatever you can think of! We use one of the larger virtual servers which cost $10, but they have a smaller one that is only $5 month! You could run a server for free for 2 WHOLE MONTHS!
Just use this fancy referral link to get your 10 BUCKS and we here at Skepticon HQ will get $25 in Digital Ocean Credit to help us pay for the Skepticon website. It’s what those in big business call a “WIN-WIN” situation.
Starting today, we’ll be highlighting our seventeen speakers in no particular order. (ok, maybe alphabetical- you caught us.) For those of you who have been attending Skepticon since the beginning, you’ll find some fresh new faces to get you all excited. For those of you who discovered Skepticon recently because your favorite speaker will be presenting with us, check out some of our “tenured” speakers and see what all the fuss is about. You can view any past Skepticon video on our website.
First up, Daniel Bier! Daniel is the editor of The Skeptical Libertarian. The Skeptical Libertarian is a project to promote science, secularism, and skeptical inquiry in the libertarian movement. He personally writes on issues relating to science, skepticism, and economic freedom, focusing on the role of evolution in social and economic development.
“Instead of trying to silence or ignore the crazies in our midst, we ought to confront them and expose the lunatic fringe for what they really are: peddlers of fear, falsehood, and paranoia, just like the politicians they claim to oppose. We cannot sit passively next to the people in tinfoil hats screaming about chemtrails and FEMA camps and still expect to be listened to when we try to speak about our real concerns on foreign policy or personal liberty.”
When he’s not debating the crazies and exposing some downright sketchy things the government is up to, Daniel likes to perfect his underwater basket-weaving technique. Normally he’s busy doing things like working as researcher for a free market think tank in Washington, DC, appearing on Fox Business and Al Jazeera, and contributing to The Freeman, The Commentator, Reason, and more. However, when given the opportunity, he likes to take long walks on the beach and drink pina coladas. He dislikes being caught in the rain. Follow Daniel on Twitter for more info @SkepticalDan.
Daniel has agreed to waive any honorariums and fees to speak at Skepticon for free. Even still, it will cost us about $850.00 to pay for Daniel’s airfare, taxis, and hotel room so that he can speak at Skepticon. If you’re excited to see him present, please consider donating to help cover the costs of getting him to Springfield, MO this November.
It’s super effective! We are beyond excited for the registration incentives and donation gifts Skepticon is able to do this year!!! Thanks to an awesome sponsorship by “Supersaurus” donor Polaris Financial Planning we are finally able to give LANYARDS AND BADGES to our attendees for the FIRST YEAR EVER! It’s like a dream come true! All YOU have to do is register to attend Skepticon 7 before Friday, October 17th, 2014!!!!!!!! Don’t be a Slowpoke. As always, our event is free, so every one of you that registers before October 17 will receive their lanyard and SK7 badge when you check in at the event. How amazeballs is that? Pretty amazeballs, if we may say so ourselves.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!!!! Maybe not everyone is as good at financial planning as Polaris is, but you can still be an official Skepticon Sponsor and get a bunch of kickass sponsorship stuff! When you register for the event, you’ll notice a $100 DONATION SECRET SURPRISE option (for anyone that gives $100.00 before we run out of the super secret surprises). If you want to go above and beyond that, we have sponsorship levels starting at $300 that will get you epic high fives, a vendor table, AND a listing in the Skepticon 7 program. We call that the “Dilophosaurus Level” (a.k.a. “that spitty one from Jurassic Park”) and they go all the way up to the “Tyrannosaurus-Rex Level”. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to catch em’ all. (Yes, for just an extra $50.00 over the normal vendor table you can get advertising. Legit.)
As of this morning, we’re sitting at 37% of our goal to fund Skepticon 7. That’s pretty fantastic for this point in the year!!!! Like, for realsies, you guys are so awesome! That’s enough to pay for the speaker airfare and all your lanyards. So… at this point we may have to have it in the poke-gym, but together we’ll make this thing happen, even if we have to bust our balls to do it!
Some people had beautiful, memorable prom experiences, filled with fun and laughter, the perfect outfit, the perfect date. On their death bed, they’ll remember prom as one of the most joyous times in their life.
And then there are the rest of us.
BUT WAIT! Now you have the opportunity to have a happy death bed memory! SKEPTI-PROM is the dance you always dreamed of – all the fun without all the drama of high school. Plus if you (legally) drink at Skepti-Prom, you don’t have to worry about us calling your dad to pick you up.
As soon as lectures are over Saturday night (about 10 pm), we’re all going to make a mad dash for the dance hall (aka, workshop rooms) to get our groove on. Costumes are welcome and encouraged, as is formal wear or even casual wear. Really, as long as you won’t get arrested for indecent exposure, you’ll be welcome! (Not that we would snitch on you, but better to be safe than jailed.)
PLEASE BRING YOUR ID IF YOU ARE GOING TO DRINK, as you must be carded, wristbanded, and marked in order to purchase alcohol. But that’s one piece of good news – a cash bar will be available, along with food concessions. We will also have a bunch of swag you can buy to complement your costume or lack thereof.
Finally, what would be prom without the obligatory photo op? Bring your own camera, take your pick of props, and smile like you mean it.
Special thanks goes out to our DJ for the night, Phil Ferguson of Polaris Financial Planning. Make sure you harass him all night for your special songs give him a high five for providing the tunes and fancy lighting!
So whether you ask that special someone to join you in promly bliss or make it a solo event, make sure you reserve Saturday night for Skepti-Prom. We promise you don’t want to miss it!
When Cherno Biko sent an email saying they wouldn’t be able to speak at Skepticon 7, we here at HQ kind of freaked out a little. OK, a lot. We were really excited to hear that speech and hang out.
However, once we recovered from the initial shock and got up off the floor to read the rest of the email, we realized that Cherno Biko had already lined up the perfect replacement: Kayley Whalen!
While we are pretty darned sad to miss out on Cherno Biko, Kayley Whalen sounds like everything we would hope and dream of in a speaker–Thanks, Cherno! Crisis averted! Check out her bio on our speaker page for more specifics and awesomeness.
Now that we’ve gotten this all figured out, we can get back to worrying about how we are going to feed the dinos this year.
As many of you know we are moving in to a new venue this year, and we are super stoked! In the words of Lauren, “Amaze Balls”.
We wanted to take a few moments to show you why we are so excited!
And some photos! Enjoy!
Guys. Guys. Hey Guys. I read the MOST AMAZING letter ever last night and I want to share this with you so that you can freak out with me!!!!
Dear SKEPTICON, INC.
We are pleased to inform you that on review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to you are deductible under section 170 of the code. We determined that you are a public charity and the effective date of exemption is July 3, 2012.
Director of Exempt Organizations
I’ll translate that for those of you who aren’t tax nerds like me: We’re official!!!! We did it!!!! We’re a federally recognized charity!!!! This is HUGE for us because it means that new donors are more willing and able to give funds to us because they may get to write it off on their taxes. I know that personally, my big girl job will make a grant in my name to federally recognized charities if I do volunteer work. I’m gonna go fill out the forms as soon as I’m done with this as I’m pretty sure I’ve accumulated some time!
So pretty please, if you have a rich uncle looking to donate to a good cause or if you ARE a rich uncle and want to drop some money on us, visit our donation page. If you work for a corporation that will make grants to 501(c)(3) Public Educational Charities, shoot us an email at email@example.com and we will GLADLY give you any information your company requires to get them to give us dollars. If you’ve always wanted to help out Skepticon but don’t have the money personally, applying for grants is a great way to put in some effort at your leisure without costing you a thing.
There’s nothing stopping you now! Help us feed the dinosaurs and make the seventh Skepticon the best one ever! All the money goes right back into making your time with us as wonderful as it can be! We love you!!!! See you in 106 days!!!
-Rebekah and the Skepticon Team
Would you like to have a table of your very own at Skepticon 7? You’re in luck! You can reserve a table with us via our registration form over at eventbrite.
Come to our con, be a vendor and sell those things/rep that organization you love! We wanna hang out.
Tablers 4 Lyfe!
Remember that totally amazing recipe book we made? Turns out we have another, absolutely AMAZING recipe for you! This scrumptious noms comes straight from one of our most favoritest volunteers ever, Susi Bocks! Check it out:
Susi’s “AWESOME” Italian Pasta Salad
2/3 cup olive oil ½ tsp. red pepper ¾ tsp. yellow mustard
½ cup vinegar ½ tsp. white pepper ¾ tsp. oregano
¾ tsp. paprika ¾ tsp. minced garlic powder ½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. curry powder ¾ tsp. Italian seasoning olive juice from the can
*Eventually you will get to the point where you don’t measure, just starting pouring the right amounts in your hand that look right and align with your taste. Experiment until you get it to your liking of flavors, but start with this first.
½ lb. salami* 1 each – green, yellow & red pepper (chopped)
½ lb. pepperoni* 16 oz. tri-color Rotini pasta
1 lb. provolone* 1 can jumbo or colossal olives – pitted
1 lb. ham* 2 medium onions 3 tomatoes
*Sliced 1/8” thick from grocer. I can’t stress enough to purchase good quality lunchmeat and cheese.
Prepare pasta while chopping up all salad ingredients. Place the ingredients into a large bowl. Combine cooled, cooked pasta with those ingredients. Pour the oil, vinegar and olive juice into a glass shaker, then add each spice. Shake the container vigorously. Taste to see if it is to your liking and make any adjustments. When completely mixed, pour over the salad ingredients. Dig hands deep into the salad and thoroughly mix all ingredients together! For best results, refrigerate overnight. It will continue to get even tastier over the next couple of days as the dressing ingredients soak in. Enjoy!
WHO’S HUNGRY?! We hope that you enjoy this super delicious recipe (Thanks, Susi!) and consider donating today to Skepticon so that we can feed the dinosaurs.
P.s. Dinosaurs totally eat pasta salad
OMGGGGGGGGGGG you guys are amazing! You fantastic Skepticonites donated OVER ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS on the first day of registration!!!!! That’s HUGE! We are so overwhelmed with mushy feelings for all of you and how generous you are! To give you an idea of how much of an impact this has on Skepticon 7, the cool little slidey-bar-thingamagig went up 5% on the donation page in just one day! As of today, we’ve received over $8,000.00 towards Skepticon 7 out of the $40,000.00 goal. That’s almost enough to pay for the airfare for our speakers!
Step 1: Get Speakers to Springfield – NEARLY COMPLETE!
Step 2: Pay for venue so they have a place to speak: PENDING.
Step 3: Non-Profit Event!
If you haven’t registered, make sure you get over to the registration page ASAP. If you wonderful people keep donating at the rate you did today, we’ll be able to fully fund all the cool ideas we have for people who pre-registered! We mathed it out- if every attendee donated about $25.00 we would be able to do everything we’ve dreamed up for you all. If you’re not able to donate, that’s ok, we’re always FREE! We’d love to see you regardless of how much money you can give, and if you want to help out in other ways, let us know you’d like to volunteer at the event. GET HYPE!!!
Registration is here for Skepticon 7! Click this link right here to be taken to our magical registration land for dino lovers.
Be sure to register as we have some AWESOME plans in the works for our registrants. Can you say prizes? High fives? Super secret surprises? By golly we can.
See you in November! OMG IT’S SO SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!
P.s. 8 core volunteers work their butts off nonstop to make a Skepticon, consider donating today and help us make SK7 happen!
P.p.s. There are fees for donating to us through the registration site, but we like to think we’re worth it.
Did you know that there are only 4 months until Skepticon 7?!
Skepticon is a conference that is entirely run by volunteers. The Skepticon team is comprised of 8 people. 8 people who work full time jobs, have families and obligations but still donate their time to this conference year-round as a second or even third job.
Skepticon’s speakers donate their time. All of our speakers waive their honorariums and agree to ridiculous flight times in order to keep costs down.
Skepticon relies entirely upon the generous donations of people like yourself to survive from year to year. While we do everything in our power to keep costs down and spend wisely, Skepticon takes about $40,000 to run–an amount we work tirelessly year round to fundraise.
We hope that you can help us make this year’s Skepticon one of the best yet!
We are counting down the days until we will officially open Skepticon 7 registration on July 25th! Do you self-identify as a Totally Responsible Skepticon Attendee? You’ll definitely want to register this year as we have some super duper ideas in the works for our registrants.
Keep an eye out for the link next Friday!
Don’t forget, registration software isn’t free, so if you want to support Skepticon and help keep it one of the best (and most definitely the weirdest) conventions around, donate today and help us feed the dinosaurs.
We’re so excited to see you all in the fall!
The much expected, eminently anticipated, greatly awaited moment you loyal Skeptonites have been waiting for is here! The New Skepticon Diet Revolution has arrived! This is the probably-works method to lose weight, detoxify your spirit and cleanse your mind by cooking with proven ancient Hunnic traditions. Genghis Khan has thrown his full endorsement behind this project. The New Skepticon Diet Revolution contains recipes by your favorite Skepticon organizers, previous speakers and upcoming speakers that will appear at Skepticon 7. In addition to billions and billions of amazing recipes, give or take a few shitty ones, you will possess the believable back story for The Cursed Great Tome of Feeding, which we lovingly refer to as The New Skepticon Diet Revolution.
The New Skepticon Diet Revolution, a.k.a. The Cursed Great Tome of Feeding or “that crappy cookbook”, was anonymously submitted to the Skepticon Headquarters in Springfield, MO. The circumstances were a little fishy, and the document itself might be slightly cursed.
Download below for details!
PDF – Download: PDFs can be read by just about any device, whether you use an Android tablet, an iPad or view it on your desktop using Adobe Reader. This file is set to print well on 8.5 x 11 standard office paper.
MOBI – Download: This MOBI file is set to display and flow correctly on any number of devices that support the format, namely the Amazon Kindle and its kind.
EPUB – Download: The EPUB works great on a whole other slew of other e-readers or tablets that don’t support MOBI or PDF. If your e-reader isn’t an Amazon Kindle you’ll likely need the EPUB.
Also we’re hosting an arbitrary contest. Please submit your 500 word book report on The New Skepticon Diet Revolution to us at firstname.lastname@example.org before July 31, 2014. One entry will be randomly selected and you will win a free Skepticon t-shirt (and maybe some other swag if it was really awesome). We’ll post the best (if not all) of the entries on the blog at a later date. If you loved the recipes or got a kick out of the cheesy jokes, please help support more awful Skepticon humor by making a donation to support Skepticon 7!
We are happy to announce the following speakers will be joining us this year at Skepticon 7:
- JT Eberhard
- Activist, blogger, and pirate
- Daniel Bier
- Blogger, libertarian and haver of an amazing logo
- Sheree Renee Thomas
- Writer, Editor, and Educator
- Surly Amy
- Heina Dadabhoy
- Blogger, ex-muslim and haver of impeccable fashion sense
For these five speakers alone we budget about $3800 for their flights and hotel rooms. They have each generously waived their standard honorariums so that we can keep the event absolutely FREE to attend. If you would like to help us make this conference a reality, please consider donating today.
This year is shaping up to be pretty spectacular–we hope that you can you can join us and these amazing speakers in November.
P.s.–You look really pretty today!
We are happy to announce that registration for Skepticon 7 will officially open on July 25th. You’ll definitely want to register this year as we have some amazing plans in the works for our attendees.
Keep an eye out for the link later this month–we can’t wait to see you!
P.s.–Registration software isn’t free, if you want to support Skepticon and keep it one of the best (and probably weirdest) conventions around, donate today and help us feed the dinosaurs.