Ground Control to Major Tom: Part 1 of 3

Commencing countdown, engines on

Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Lift-off

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In the past few years we have made some changes to our lineup and some of the things that we have offered. One of those suggestions that you have been overly vocal in supporting would have to be the workshops!

So for today, I want to take you on a journey to Moonbase FIJI!

In this Workshop Room we have Seven Amazing Workshops starting at 10:00 AM on Friday of Skepticon! Lets take a look shall we?

[learn_more caption=”How to Build a Better Invocation”] Hosted by Amanda Novotny. Since the ruling in Greece v Galloway, non-theists across the US have been giving secular or non-religious invocations at government meetings. Amanda gives you a crash course in how to get this done effectively, from how to secure your rightful spot as invocation giver to tips on writing the invocation and getting your message across.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Living with Grief without Lies”] Hosted by Rebecca Hensler. An interactive grief support workshop for anyone who is grieving without belief in angels, psychics or God’s ******* Plan — and for anyone who loves someone who is grieving. Share your story, learn from others’ experiences and benefit from the experience of Rebecca Hensler, founder of the secular community’s largest grief-support network, Grief Beyond Belief.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”A+: Intersectional atheist humanism”] Hosted by Avi Blackmore. What’s the deal with this “Atheism+” business? What is “intersectionality”, and what does it have to do with social justice? And what does THAT have to do with atheism? Come find out![/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Camp Quest: Lets be kids again!”] Hosted by Cindy Cooper. Why Should Kids get to have all of the fun?[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Male Shame, How it Impacts You”] Hosted by Darrel Ray. Male shame is the root of many problems in relationships and plays a huge role in the how women are treated in our culture and in other cultures. You will learn what it is, how to identify it and how to deal with it in your life or the lives of those you love.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Expanding Beyond Atheism”] Hosted by Amy Caswell. We’re a secular podcast that focuses on human rights (including, but not limited to: feminism, queer rights, anti-racism, religious freedom), fandoms, sex education and mental health. We’ve expanded beyond discussing atheism, because that is just one question out of many that make a person who they are.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Recognizing and Fighting Classism”] Hosted by Ashley F. Miller. In America, class is often overlooked in mainstream media and in mainstream atheism. Why does class matter? How does classism manifest itself in media and every day conversation? What can you do to better recognize and fight classism, both in yourself and with others?[/learn_more]

 

I hope you have enjoyed this brief overview of Moonbase FIJI! Next time we visit Moonbase COCO!

 

Oh the Humanity!

Hello Skeptinaughts! Some of our most popular events at skepticon are when we get to relax and talk to some of our favorite people about what ever conversations come to mind! Well this year we have more options than ever before!

We are proud to announce a Cards Against Humanity Tournament!

Does-not-include-the-Cards-Against-Humanity-main-game.-Six-amazing-sides-in-three-incredible-dimensions.-Includes-50-blank-cards-10-black-40-white-10-dividers-the-20-card-Box-Expansion-and-nutritious-foam-filler-2

Friday Night after the main event, attendees can gather to out party other horrible people in a night of cards.

Winners of the Tournament will get one of a kind prizes, Special cards created by our Organizers and Special Guests!

If you want us to do more events like this please take a moment to donate. I can not believe how awesome you have been in making this year one of the best that we have ever had. Everything that we add to the event is because of the feedback that you have given us. Your suggestions and comments help build the event each year!

We are just over 75% to goal for this years Skepticon, so please do not stop telling us what you want, and as long as you are there to help us fund this crazy thing we do each year, we will continue to make it bigger and better every time.

 

Thanks,

Skepticon HQ

P.S. There’s been some confusion so we need to clarify- we’re having a game night in a dedicated area in the hotel that fits about 200 people. WITHIN that game night we’re having an organized Cards Against Humanity Tournament with CAH prizes because Cards Against Humanity gave us a bunch of free sets… but anyone who isn’t a Cards Against Humanity fan is absolutely welcome show up and play whatever games they like!  Bring your board games, your playing cards, your RPGs- we’re going to have some fun! And THIS time, we won’t get kicked out of the lobby for noise complaints! HA!

A tribute to one of our own.

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.

You can also find out more about Victor from Wikipedia or from his website.

 

First Looks at the new venue!

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!

 

Ramada-Floorplan

And some photos! Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Doug eating chef's hat

Skepticon Cooks Up a Fundraiser

Skepticontownvilleland!

How are you? How’s life? The universe? Everything? We here at Skepticon HQ certainly hope that you are doing the best ever.

Hey, did you know that Mother’s and Father’s Day is coming up? Are you just plumb out of ideas because your parents own just about everything they could ever want or need short of a real live pony? Well never fear, Skepticon is here!

In the past couple of weeks, Skepticon has been compiling a badass cookbook filled with recipes from all your favorite speakers and organizers. And we want to add yours to the collection! Here’s how it works:

 

Marie wearing a chef's hat.

Marie likes her new chef’s hat.

Donate $5 to Skepticon to add your recipe to our collection of amazing culinary delights! 

Now, we know you might be thinking “Why would I give you money for this thing if I can just screengrab it and enjoy delicious eats?” Easy, you are donating to be a part of this once in lifetime very super special cookbook along side your favorite speakers! Just imagine, your delicious recipe on a page for all to see right next to PZ’s casserole. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

Of course, once the compilation is complete on May 10th, we’ll have it available for free to download (because what can we say? We like free things.) However, please remember that all of your donations go directly to making your favorite convention happen, so join in on the fun and donate today!

Love your favorite skeptic chefs,

Skepticon

Thank You from Skepticon

We want to thank all of our presenters for their time and letting us exploit them for the sake of our convention.
If you get an oppertunity please follow them of facebook, twitter and their blogs.

David Fitzgerald – http://davefitzgerald.blogspot.com/
Seth Andrews, The Thinking Atheist – http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/ – @ThinkingAtheist on Twitter
Dave Smalley, Dogma Debate – http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/ – @dogmadebate on Twitter
PZ Myers – http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/ – @pzmyers on twitter
Rebecca Watson – http://skepchick.org/author/rebecca/ – @rebeccawatson on Twitter
Shelley Segal – http://www.shelleysegal.com/ – @ShelleySegal on Twitter
Godless Perverts – http://www.godlessperverts.com/ – @godlessperverts on Twitter
Aron Ra – http://www.youtube.com/user/AronRa – Aron_Ra on Twitter
Monica Miller – http://www.religionandhiphop.com/ – @religionhiphop
David Tamayo – http://hafree.org/ – @DavidFromHafre on Twitter
Amanda Knief – http://www.atheists.org/about-us/staff – @mzdameanor on Twitter
Richard Carrier – http://www.richardcarrier.info/
Amanda Marcotte – http://www.pandagon.net/ – @AmandaMarcotte on Twitter
Greta Christina – http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta – @gretachristina
Keith Lowell Jensen – http://keithlowelljensen.blogspot.com/ – @keithlowell
Monette Richards – http://www.secularwoman.org/Monette_Richards – @MistressOfFrog
Debbie Goddard – http://www.centerforinquiry.net/speakers/goddard_debbie/ – @DebGod
Rebecca hensler – https://www.facebook.com/faithfreegriefsupport – www.griefbeyondbelief.org
John Corvino – http://johncorvino.com/ – @johncorvino on Twitter
JT Eberhard – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/ – @jteverhard on Twitter

But just as important to us, we want to thank all of you who attended or watched over our Live Stream. If it was not for you, this convention would not happen and not only that, each time you donate you help support others who cant afford it.

http://skepticon.org/donate/

From everyone at Skepticon, Thank you!

You are the reason why we host this event each year.

Later this week we will be putting up a a survey to get your feedback. Any feedback you have we want to hear it.

Scholarly Survey – Spiritual But Not Religious

Some of our friends at Missouri State University in the Religious studies department asked if we could help them out. One of the problems with many religiously driven scholarly surveys is that they rarely get the point of view of skeptics or Atheists.

They asked that share this survey with all of our attendees.

We thought that this would be a great way to help get the voice of our community out in to some of these surveys!

So here it is, It takes about 15 mins, and its good to keep in mind that these questions are focused around people who identify as religious or Spiritual.

[button link=”https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SBNR” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”] Spiritual But Not Religious[/button]

Security Update

My name is Dave Muscato; I am the Public Relations Director for American Atheists. I am at the Skepticon conference in Springfield, MO, although I am attending on my own “off-duty” this weekend and not in a working capacity for American Atheists.

 

Early Saturday morning, there was a security incident and I would like to clear up any misconceptions, explain where things stand, and tell you how Skepticon has resolved the situation.

 

About 4 AM on Saturday morning, another attendee of the conference made a graphic and direct verbal death threat to me while brandishing a semi-automatic pistol, which this person claimed was loaded. The incident occurred on E St Louis Street outside, away from conference property and neither in the conference hotel nor in the expo center. I was with a small group of people who were able to distract this person with conversation and diffuse things until we were able to return to the University Plaza hotel, where the person went to his room. I reported the incident immediately to hotel security and the Springfield police, and made statements on the record about what happened.

 

Skepticon organizers have been fully informed of all details of the incident, and all organizers and volunteers, as well as police and hotel security, have this person’s name and photograph. This person has agreed to leave the hotel and not return to Skepticon this year or in future years.

 

Skepticon organizers have been overwhelmingly supportive and competent. I was offered a security escort, which I appreciated, but felt was unnecessary and declined.

 

I still feel safe at Skepticon. I have been coming to Skepticon for four years now and intend to continue to donate and to return to Springfield for Skepticon 7.

 

I am not going to name the person involved in this incident at this time. Skepticon organizers and American Atheists have this person’s name and information. I will let them decide how to handle informing other event organizers about this situation.

 

What happens next depends on what American Atheists’ in-house counsel and the Springfield Police Department advise.

 

I would prefer not to discuss this incident further. I am OK. I thank everyone for their concern. I am extremely impressed and flattered with the outpouring of support from Skepticon organizers, other attendees, and speakers, as well as the support from the atheist community online.

 

I am here the rest of today but if I miss you, I will see you next year for Skepticon 7!

 

Sincerely,

Dave

Skepticon Travel Grants!

Skepticon is pleased to announce that Travel Grants are here!

skepticon6logo

We have three different grants available this year:

  •  The Surly Amy Travel Grant for Awesome Women Who are Awesome
    • Number of Grants – 1
    • Requirements – Identify as Female.
  • The Secular Woman Travel Grant
    • Number of Grants – 1
    • Requirements – Identify as Female.
  • The Skepticon Dino Grants!
    • Number of Grants – Many!
    • Requirements – None!

Applications will be accepted until September 27th at midnight CST. At that time, candidates be selected for each grant and their information will be shared on our blogasaurs. We plan on having a donations link that will go exclusively toward these grants so that we can help as many people as possible enjoy the Skepticon experience. Dinos for everyone!

Click Here if you want to apply for one of the many Travel Grants available this year.

Skepticon Update – Friends Against Hunger

Friends! Skeptics! Activists!

We are pleased to announce that this year we will be sharing the Expo Center with Friends Against Hunger again!

Friends Against Hunger is the group that we shared the Expo Center with last year and their goal is to pack 1 million meals in a three-day span to ship to areas of need.

Last year with the help of some of our attendees they were able to meet that goal! They packaged 960,000 meals and enough raw ingredients to allow them to make another 150,000. 308,000 meals were shipped to the east coast for victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Another 120,000 were distributed in and around Springfield area pantries and feeding programs and the remaining meals were distributed to other needy areas.

FAHunger needs approximately 100 people every 30 minutes, and if you want to be one of those volunteers then all you have to do is go online and register. Now they can only handle so many volunteers at once, so if you do not register but want to be a part of this event it is possible that there may not be enough room. So make sure to register if you are interested in helping.

When volunteering you will be signing up for 2 hour time slots, and they start at 10:00 am on Friday and 9:00 am on Saturday and Sunday. Oddly enough it is the same times Skepticon’s schedule starts each day! Its almost like we had planned that.

“Just two hours of your time will make a difference. Bring a group or come alone. Whatever you do, take action today!!” – FAHunger.org