Who Wants to Catch the FISHy Table?

EvolveFish, one of our mostest favoritest vendors, wants to help your secular group thrive! If you’ve always wanted to have a table at Skepticon (where tons of like-minded people will have an opportunity to see what you’re made of, or what you’re selling) but you’ve never had the “start-up” money for it, EvolveFish wants to help! They want to give away a Skepticon 7 Vendor Table to the most deserving secular group!

EvolveFISH’s “Who Wants to Catch the FISHy Table?” Table-Give-Away Written and/or Video Essay Contest

WHO CAN ENTER!?!? – a secular group…

A)      Run by individuals under the age of 30.

B)      Dedicated to representing other secular youth (and young adults).

C)      Growing with active members.

HOW DO WE WIN!?!?! – write  an essay that’s no more than one “8.5 x 11” page OR create a 3 minute video with the following theme:

“How will we little fish be able to make BIG waves if we have a vendor table given to us?” (i.e. “Our reasons for deserving a free table at SK7”)

Please answer the following in your essay/video:

A) What’s the name of your group, how did you start in the secular world, and why did you start a secular group in your geographical area?

B) What are some of the goals your group will set if you have a table at Skepticon 7?

C) What do you see yourself and your group doing in the future for atheists, humanists, skeptics, etc?

Extra credit:    What music do you listen to the most and why?  OR   What’s your favorite beer, wine, or spirit and why?

If you meet the criteria and want to enter your essay/video for review by EvolveFish, please send all necessary information to Margaret from EvolveFish at [email protected]  by 11/12/14. EvolveFish will select their winner and the winner will be contacted ASAP with information.



Super Speaker Spotlight: Sheree Renée Thomas

We are delighted to introduce Sheree Renée Thomas to the Skepticrowd! Sheree writes in Tennessee between a river and a pyramid. How cool is that? Honestly, we’d have her speak just to talk about the pyramid. Not only does she have great taste in property, but she has great taste in Science Fiction and Fantasy. She’s the author of Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems and editor of Dark Matter: A Century and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (winner of 2001 & 2005 World Fantasy Awards). A Clarion West ’99 grad, Sheree has served as a juror of the Speculative Fiction Foundation, the Carl Brandon Society, and the Tiptree Awards.

Her own writing is super amazing! She’s received  Honorable Mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror(in both the 16th & 17th editions), was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and two Rhysling Awards. You can read some of the stuff she’s written in Eleven, Eleven, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, storySouth,Callaloo, Meridians, Obsidian, Harpur Palate, and in The Moment of Change: Feminist Speculative Poetry,80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula Le Guin, Mojo: Conjure Stories, Hurricane Blues, Bum Rush the Page,The Ringing Ear, MYTHIC 2, and So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy. If you start now, you just might finish them all before Skepticon- but you probably won’t be able to sleep- there’s a lot! Totally worth staying up late every night until then, we promise!

If you’re interested in meeting Sheree at Skepticon and getting her to sign all those books you read, we need help with fundraising! Our goal is $40,000 and we’re several thousand dollars short with only a few weeks go go. Please donate and help us make Skepticon 7 awesome for you!

Help Save a Life at Skepticon 7

The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Bloodmobile will be at Skepticon again for a blood drive! If you want to help save lives while you’re having a blast at Skepticon 7, please consider helping us fulfill our goal of 25 units/donors!!!! If you donate blood, besides helping someone else, you can LifePoints from CBCO that can be redeemed them for gifts or donated to a charitable cause!

Before you plan to donate, check out their Donor Eligibility Information. Once you’re sure you can help, the Community Blood Center suggests you get a good night’s sleep the night before and eat within 2 hours prior to donating for a more pleasant donation experience. Post-donation refreshments will be available for donors, which are intended to replenish blood sugar, and minimize a reaction tendency. Once you’re done, tweet about it with #redcellfie !

The blood drive will happen Friday from 1-5pm on the south side entrance of the conference center. Please sign up in advance by visiting Skepticon’s CBCO page!  While you’re looking up your eligibility and thinking happy thoughts of giving away your blood, please consider giving your dollars too!

Stupendous Speaker Spotlight: Cara Santa Maria

Cara Santa Maria has dedicated her life to improving science literacy by communicating scientific principles across media platforms. You probably recognize her from her weekly science podcast called “Talk Nerdy.” Science, education, and talkin’ nerdy? Cara is right up our alley!!! Her published research has spanned various topics, including clinical psychological assessment, the neuropsychology of blindness, neuronal cell culture techniques, and computational neurophysiology.

Cara previously worked as a co-host and producer on the Pivot TV nightly live television show, “TakePart Live.” Before that, she was the senior science correspondent for The Huffington Post and co-starred in “Hacking The Planet” and “The Truth About Twisters” on The Weather Channel.  She is also a regular contributor to “TechKnow” on Al Jazeera America and “SoCal Connected” on KCET.

She might be a little out of our league, but somehow we managed to convince her to come to Skepticon 7!!! Don’t let this opportunity go to waste just because we couldn’t make our goal of $40,000! We’re currently at $31,662, so we need to pull in $8,338 bucks in 24 days! Please donate today, ’cause Skepticon and Cara Santa Maria are totally worth it!


Let Skepticon “Upgrade U”

We’ve been looking for some creative new fundraisers because we’re still pretty short of our fundraising goal. Lauren’s been having us listen to her “Ladies Power Hour” radio station during all our meetings, so it was a no-brainer to take a page from Beyoncé’s book- we’re going to “Upgrade U”!!!! Skepticon wants to treat you right- by upgrading you to the Executive King Suite. Discounting the fees for changing a reservation, the room normally costs $180 A NIGHT, so this is the biggest prize Skepticon’s ever given!!!!

We have one Executive King Suite room open, and if you’re already staying at the Ramada Inn & Suites, we want you to have it! The Executive King Suite is beautifully decorated and offers a king bed, living area, two 55” SMART TV’s, IPOD Docking Station, Keurig Coffee Maker, Refrigerator, stocked mini-bar, Mirror with LCD TV (omg, it’s IN THE MIRROR) and a jetted tub.  (we’re not paying for your booze, but it’s there if you want it lol)

If you want to live like royalty for the weekend, make a new donation this week (October 26 – November 2) of $1 or more, and we’ll enter you into the “Upgrade U” contest. If you win the contest we will have the Ramada change your reservation from the normal room you reserved to the EXECUTIVE SUITE absolutely FREE OF CHARGE. Best part of all, since the Ramada’s doing this for us as a favor, it doesn’t cost Skepticon anything, so all your donations this week can go right back into making the event more awesome for you! That means EVERYONE’S A WINNER even if they don’t get the suite!!!! CLICK THE BUTTON and let us UPGRADE YOU!

[button link=”https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=ZDQAQJMTF4K2C” type=”big” color=”purple”] Donate Now to Upgrade![/button]

Disclaimer: Beyoncé is not an organizer.Disclaimer 2: You’re responsible for any incidental charges, it’s the upgrade to the $180 room that’s free.Disclaimer 3: You DO have to have a reservation at the Ramada already, before we can upgrade it.

Super Duper Speaker Spotlight: PZ Myers

PZ Myers is definitely one of our more infamous cohorts. PZ (Which stands for Paul Zachary–thanks Wikipedia!) has been here since day one after we plied him with a pirate hat and beer. He regularly blogs over at Pharyngula and can be found at the University of Minnesota, Morris teaching the next generation about the biologies. Also, he hates crackers and loves squids–please do not confuse the two. He once rode a dinosaur, and he’s currently working on confirming that Skepticon is the largest free conference in the universe. He probably is riding around on his personal asteroid 153298 Paulmyers right now, trying to figure it out before Skepticon 7.

PZ is a self-identifies as an Evo-devo biologist, politically progressive, ferociously godless, proudly feminist, always ready to rage against ignorance. We describe him as a “curmudgeony peach”. We’re not entirely sure what that means. If you want to see him in action, head over to the Twitterverse and grab some popcorn. If you REALLY want to see him work his magic, come listen to his upcoming talk on molecular biology! If you love molecules, or biology, or pirate hats & beer, please help us get PZ to Springfield! We only have a few weeks to raise about nine THOUSAND dollars, so please help by donating today!


The Ramada Hotel is All Booked Up- But we Got Your Back

It’s official, the Ramada Oasis Hotel and Convention Center is ENTIRELY OURS for the weekend! BWA HA HA HA HAaaaaa!!! We’re not really sure they know what they’re getting themselves into, but so far so good! This is great for us, because it means we have the run of the place, but not so great if you haven’t booked your hotel room yet. Wat do?

We have your back!!! We’re planning one of the coolest fundraisers we’ve ever done! Next week, we’re running a hotel room fundraiser: if you win, you can upgrade your room to one of the fancy schmancy Executive Suites if you are already staying at the Ramada, or you can get the option to reserve the ONE LAST ROOM in the hotel we held back for this purpose! Details on the fundraiser will show up soon!!! GET EXCITED!!!

If you’re not much of a gambler, you can book a room at one of the overflow hotels: the Drury Inn and Suites or the Holiday Inn & Suites. They’re right next door! At the Drury you will need to call for Jackie (she’s the GM) and and at the Holiday Inn you can call for Rachel Anderson. We weren’t able to lock in the Skepticon Discount, but tell them that your rate at the Ramada is $80.00 and see what they can do to get close to that. Good luck!

If you’re not going to participate in the hotel fundraiser, you can always donate today! We still have about $9,000 until our goal and ONLY THIRTY DAYS LEFT UNTIL SKEPTICON!!!!!

AHH Freak Out

AHHHHH!!!! FREAK OUT!!!! There is only ONE MONTH UNTIL SKEPTICON!!!!! We don’t mean to scare you, but there is really and truly only a month left until Skepticon 7!!!!!

Well, we suppose you Skeptipeople are probably a lot more excited than freaked out. AS YOU SHOULD BE!!!! We have SO MUCH going on for you guys this year, and things are cruising right along here at Skepticon HQ. We’ve ordered your t-shirts, we’re getting brochures printed, and we’re starting to get shipments of supplies for Skeptiprom and the Cards Against Humanity Game Night. We’re in contact with the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks for the blood drive, the Live Action Society for some sweet NERF action, and the Fire & Ice bartenders for some spectacular Skepti-themed drinks.

BUT GUYS, that’s not even the coolest part!!!! We are over 75% of our goal! We’re currently sitting at $30,557 donated to Skepticon 7!! That’s THE BEST we’ve ever done by October of any Skepticon EVER. You guys ROCK OUR SOCKS OFF!!! However, that still puts us $9,443 short of the $40,000 we need to make magic happen… So there’s that. Please consider helping us make the conference way better for YOU than ever before, and donate asap! 

We’re also wrapping up things with our Sponsors, Vendors, and Workshop presenters. If you happen to be one of those, please make sure you have your donations, art assets, or other thingies to us by this Friday the 24th!!! As much as we hate the idea, we do have to have a cut off date eventually so we can focus our efforts on the NEXT big thing. We’ll be sending out receipts for vendor tables, so if you don’t have one by Thursday night, you should PROBABLY e-mail us to see what’s up….

With your help, we’ve got this, guys. And on that note… I leave you with this: FREAK IN!


You Need a Badge for Skepticon 7

Good news: if you register online by the end of the day today, we’ll give you one for free!!! Best news: they’re pretty pretty bad-ass, brightly colored, and the VERY FIRST SKEPTICON BADGES IN EXISTANCE, so we’re sure you can sell yours for a lot of dollars in 50 years on ebay2.0! Or you can keep it forever in your Skepticon scrapbook. Don’t lie- we know you keep one too.

Anyway, you really do need a badge for Skepticon 7. Since the Oasis Convention Center is private property and we’ve got the place to ourselves, we’re cracking down on security like a boss. While Skepticon is always free, you’ll have to register if you want to stick around so we know who all is on site. And after you register, you’ll need to wear your bad-ass badge during the whole weekend so our security people don’t eyeball you too hard. We need you guys to register ahead of time so we know how many badges to order. If you don’t register ASAP you probably won’t get a badge, and if you don’t have a badge… you’re gonna have to wear one of those lame-o sticky nametags. Makes sense, right? Right.

REGISTER HERE AND SHOW OFF YOUR FORESIGHT AND GREAT PLANNING SKILLS!!!!! Also, if you donated so we could actually HAVE an event, that would be cool too. We’re still pretty far off from our goal of $40,000.00, but we’re getting there! You guys are great! You keep up the good donation work and we’ll keep giving you awesome extras like lanyards and proms!

Let’s Take Care of Business!

With the final days of Skepticon approaching, we need to finalize all of your goodies! We’re finalizing your T-Shirt pre-orders with SWAGBOT today!!! If you want your official Skepticon 7 shirt, you need to place YOUR order immediately! Remember, we cannot guarantee size availiability at the event itself, so if you have any special size orders, or are wanting a shirt for the whole family, place your order ASAP!!! We’re also about to order all our badges and lanyards since the deadline of October 17th is fast approaching, so if you haven’t registered, be sure you do that too! Lets take care of business and make this the best, most swag-filled Skepticon yet!!!