An Apology from Skepticon

Hello Skepticoners,

After Skepticon, 11 we put out the call for feedback on how we can improve the event for next year. By far the most significant point of criticism we received was the scheduling of Skepticon coinciding with the anniversary of the death of Mike Brown.

Unfortunately, when we scheduled Skepticon 11, the anniversary wasn’t on our radar. By the time we were aware of the conflict, we’d already signed a contract for the date with the venue. As a result, St. Louis was in a state of mourning when we were asking the community to come and talk about science excitedly with us.

While we didn’t set out to hurt anyone or this community, that certainly happened and for that we apologize. Next year, Skepticon 12 will happen August 14th-16th and we pledge to take steps to check for these sorts of conflicts going forward.

We want to thank those of you who offered your criticism and hope that we can move forward together.

Love,

Skepticon

Thank you for coming to Skepticon 11!

Dear Skepticoners,

Thank you so much for attending and supporting us this year! It was so so so great to see all of your faces. A brand new attendee mentioned that it was like walking into a giant family reunion and we couldn’t agree more.

We hope you’re traveling home safe and getting some much needed rest and self care.

We’ll see you next year at the same place for Skepticon 12 on August 14th, 15th, and 16th 2020!

The theme? SUPERHEROES!

Keep being awesome,

Team Skepticon

SK11 Important Stuff!

OMG, Skepticonites!

SKEPTICON 11 IS FINALLY HERE!!!!!

Here are some important things to know:

Parking is $5 per day for attendees not staying in the hotel. Get a ticket when you enter the parking garage, then make sure to get a sticker for your ticket. That sticker is what gets you the special rate, otherwise it’ll cost you a lot more. We encourage you to carpool or use mass transit options — the station is just across the street from our venue!

Childcare has moved to a different floor. Due to mechanical issues, childcare and the nursing & napping rooms have had to move, but they are still available! Please check at the registration desk for more information.

The Cardinals are playing home games all weekend. The stadium is only a half mile from our venue, so traffic will be bad, restaurants will be crowded, and there will be people all over the place, especially a couple of hours before and after the games. Game times are 7:15pm on Friday, 6:15pm on Saturday, and 1:15pm on Sunday. Go sportsball!

Check https://skepticon.org/schedule/ for the most up-to-date information. Workshop topics and locations, main stage topics, and activity locations are all updated here. Info also always available at the registration desk.

Need help? Look for the pink Organizer or green Volunteer ribbons on people’s badges. These people will know how to get you what you need! This includes high fives!

You are the most amazing attendees evar! We appreciate all your support for Skepticon, and can’t WAIT to spend this fantastic weekend with you!

Love,
Team Skepticon

SK11 Cram Session: Attending to our Attendees!

Hey there, Skepticondlers!

You know who we adore? You! Our attendees! So we do our best to make you all comfortable and as happy as possible. Here are some ways we’re doing that:

Quiet Room — There will be a quiet room available for when you need a moment away from the hustle and bustle of the con. It’s on the 13th floor, so it’s convenient to all the con rooms!

Fidgets — Check the registration table to borrow a fidget if you need one!

Gender Neutral Restrooms — The restrooms in the center of the convention hall will be gender neutral. There are gender segregated restrooms at the far end of the hall past the main stage/workshop rooms.

Child Care — Child care will be available for ages newborn and up! There is a suggested donation of $5 per hour per child. Child care is being provided by TLC Family Care. More information available here https://skepticon.org/childcare-will-be-available-at-sk11/ and at registration.

Nursing & Napping Room — A quiet room will be available for parents and their little ones to take a break for a nosh or a nap. There will be 2 playpens and 10 nap mats available for the little ones, and comfy couches and chairs for the parental ones. More information is available at registration.

Red Lanyard Policy — Not all of our attendees are out in their home communities as the people they are while at Skepticon. Those people will be wearing red lanyards, and pictures of them or use of their names should not be used in any way without their explicit permission.

Reserved for Mobility Devices — We will have several areas in the main stage/workshop spaces reserved for people with mobility devices. If you need help finding these spaces, or moving chairs to be in your preferred area, let us know!

Captioning — White Coat Captioning, and more specifically, our favorite captioner Mirabai, will be returning to provide captioning for all the main stage presentations!

Communication Stickers — We respect that some people are not comfortable conversing with strangers, or want to regulate their interaction with people. Everyone can opt to use the communication stickers or not, but please respect the wishes of those who do use them.

Food Pantry — We found out that some of our attendees were going hungry, or at least not eating very much or very healthy, while attending Skepticon. That was not acceptable, so we introduced our Food Pantry! We will have a microwave and hot water available, as well as plates, bowls, napkins, utensils, etc.

If you can, please bring items to donate to the food pantry! For every item you bring, you will get one raffle ticket (max. 5 tickets.) Suggested items are fresh or canned/packaged fruit; ready-to-eat soups (not condensed); chili; “instant” foods like Cup-a-Noodles, mac & cheese cups, etc; single serving peanut butter & crackers, cheese & crackers, tuna or chicken salad & crackers, etc; single serving packages of snack foods: dried fruit, raisins, cereal, nuts, trail mix, crackers, jerky, etc; granola bars; oatmeal or Cream of Wheat packets. Also needed are paper bowls (not styrofoam, they melt in the microwave), plastic spoons and forks, and napkins or paper towels. If you’re able to accommodate dietary restrictions such as vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free, diabetic, etc, that would be super awesome. If you donate a special item, please notify us when you drop off so we can set it aside for someone who needs such an item.

Clothes Closet — Need clothes? Come visit the Clothes Closet! Have extra clothes? Bring them to the Clothes Closet, and get up to 5 raffle tickets! This started as just clothes for Prom, but this year we’re expanding it to include all clothes! More info is available here https://skepticon.org/skepticon-clothes-closet/

Community Message Board — Leave a message for a friend, request a ride, or just share a fun saying! The message board is available for anything you need, as long as it’s good.

We hope this helps you have an even better time at Skepticon! If you think of something we should be providing, please leave us a comment in the box at the registration table!

Looking forward to an amazing time with all of you this weekend!

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS — Donations are what make these accommodations possible. Please help if you can! skepticon.org/donate

SK11 Cram Session: Pre-Registration Raffle!

Howdy, Skepticonites!

Team Skepticon loves all our attendees, but it makes us super happy when you pre-register for the con. It helps us figure out how many things to buy, like badges and lanyards and merchandise, and makes other planning so much easier. But even now, 2 days before the con starts, pre-registering helps us out, and it helps you out, too! If you pre-register, you get through registration so much faster, which frees up time to check out the vendor tables or the activity room or the media room or make a new friend or… well, you get it!

And we’re going to give you an incentive to pre-register! Register before Thursday, 11:59pm Central time, and you’ll be entered to win this adorable giant plush dino!

Plush green triceratops, a whopping 44″ long!

Have you already registered? No problem! You’ll be entered in the raffle too!

GO HERE TO REGISTER NOW! https://skepticon.org/register/

We hope it’s YOU who wins this cuddly new friend!

Love,
Team Skepticon

SK11 Cram Session: Activities!

Skepticon Attendees!

The big day is almost here, and there’s so much to tell you all! Yeah, I know I was supposed to tell you all this in my promised blog posts, but when you see how flipping fantastic the Prom centerpieces are, you’ll understand why blog posts have been lacking. But anyway, on to the amazing activities offered at Skepticon 11!

Friday Night

  • Allegedly: A Night of Comedy — For $10, come have a night of laughter, and help Skepticon with our legal bills! More information here https://skepticon.org/introducing-allegedly-a-night-of-comedy/
  • Game Night — Bring your own tabletop games! Bring your ID and form of payment, as a bar and bartender will be available to keep you hydrated until midnight! But even after the bar closes down, the good times keep going, because our cool new venue is letting us keep the room open until 2am!

Saturday Night

  • SkeptiProm — Of course we’re having our famous dance night again! Just like high school, but waaaaay better, because you get to bring the date you wanted to bring, or wear the clothes you wanted to wear, AND there’s a bar! Bring your ID and your form of payment, but leave your cares at the door and dance your worries away!
  • SkeptiLounge — Dances not your thing? No problem! We’ll have one of the rooms available until 2am for playing games, chit chatting, or just plain hanging out!

Other Activities

  • Activity Room — We have a whole room dedicated to fun activities! Check the schedule outside the room to see what’s going on when. Want to host an activity? Email me at [email protected]! Ideas for activities: knitting group, sobriety group, meetup for local groups, whatever you want to do as a group! When there is no activity scheduled, the room will be open for general gathering, and will have coloring and jigsaw puzzles available for everyone to enjoy.
  • Vendor Room — We heard your requests for more vendors at Skepticon, and now we have a whole room of them!
  • Media Room — This room is available for anyone who records any kind of media — bloggers, vloggers, reporters, writers, etc. There’s enough room for a small audience, if you want one. Sign up for a time slot on the schedule outside the room. Please bring your own equipment!

We hope you find enough to keep you busy all weekend long, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too — eat, sleep, and hydrate too! (With water, not just alcohol and/or caffeine!)

We’re super looking forward to a fantastically active weekend with you all!

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS — Donate if you can, and have your donation doubled by our awesome anonymous donor! https://skepticon.org/sk11-fundraising-update-and-matching-challenge/

SK11 Fundraising Update and Matching Challenge!

Audit Cat is examining the moneys.
Image by imarksm from Pixabay

Hey there awesome Skeptonites! We’ve been examining our finances, and need your help! With one week to go, we still need to raise about $10,000 between now and August 11th, when the last SK11 attendee floats home on a lovely cloud of post-con bliss.

The good news is that starting today, August 1st, we have a donation matching challenge. Thanks to very generous and very anonymous donors, for every $ donated to Skepticon between now and the 11th, they will match with a $, making $$! They didn’t give us an upper limit, so let’s take ridiculous advantage of these awesome people.

So please donate! Claim your SK 11 Amazeball with a $100 donation! (Maybe even donate to our legal defense fund if you think that speaking out is worth fighting for!)

Help us if you can! This year’s conference will go on no matter what, but if you love Skepticon and want it to continue, we need you.

For the curious and detail-minded of you out there (Us too!), here are some of the gory details of our current moneys:

As of 7/31:

  • Expenses already paid this year (speaker travel, merch, equipment, etc.): $11,411
  • Anticipated venue expenses (space rental, rooms for speakers): $15,300
  • Anticipated conference expenses (captioning, child care, DJ, rentals): $4,900
  • Balance in the conference fund: $9,408
  • Amount needed to cover conference expenses: $10,792

And then the legal defense fund:

  • Amount of legal bills on credit card: $20,754
  • Legal bills unpaid: $8,533
  • Balance in the legal fund: $1,490
  • Net legal bills needing to be covered: $27,797
  • (We’ll be receiving another large bill next week for July. Yay us.)

Skepticon Clothes Closet

Hello Friends of Skepticon!

We have had a Prom Clothes Closet for several years now, and it has been quite the success. This year, we decided to take it up a notch, and make it just the Skepticon Clothes Closet. That’s right, all clothes are welcome!

Do you want to get fancy for Prom, but your bank account is looking a little light? Visit Skepticon’s Clothes Closet!

Arrive at Skepticon and realize you forgot your suitcase? Visit Skepticon’s Clothes Closet!

Everything in the Clothes Closet is free to all attendees. We are not the government, we’re not going to make you fill things out in triplicate just so you can pick out an outfit or a bit of bling or whatever. We just want everyone to have a good time!

Do you have clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc, cluttering up your closet? Skepticon’s Clothes Closet is a great way to get rid of them! For every piece you bring in, you’ll receive a ticket to use at the Raffle Table! (Up to 5 tickets per person, but please don’t let that stop you from bringing in more stuff!) We will take *clean*, gently worn clothing and shoes, jewelry, and unused makeup. We need all sizes, all levels of dress (casual to formal), all genders, all ages! But we will not have time to wash everything at the con, so please make sure it’s all clean when you bring it to us! (Oh, and no used underwear or socks, please. New with tags or in the package only. No one wants that dreck.)

Any items left over will be donated to a local charity that follows Skepticon’s support of minority groups (so, NOT Salvation Army…) or held over for Skepticon 12.

Any questions about Skepticon’s Clothes Closet? Email [email protected] for the answers!

Skepticon loves all our attendees, and we want to help you out in all the ways we can! Whether that means a new outfit or a cleaner closet, we hope you get something out of our Clothes Closet!

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS — Donate more than clothes, if you can! https://skepticon.org/donate/
And register if you’re planning on attending SK11! https://skepticon.org/register/
You can still get a discount on your room! https://skepticon.org/where/
Let us know if you need childcare! https://skepticon.org/childcare-will-be-available-at-sk11/

SkeptiProm!

Hi there, SkeptiProm fans!

Yeah, I know I promised a blog post a day, and I’ve been lacking. But really, do you need to know about anything else other than SkeptiProm?!

Um, yes, you do. There is much to know about Skepticon 11. But for today, the news is Prom!

SkeptiProm is happening! Saturday night! Right after the last talk (about 9pm)!

It will be on the first floor in the Sports Bar, where we can be loud and obnoxious and it’s nowhere near any of the rooms!

There will be a quiet room available on the first floor, so you don’t need to schlep all the way upstairs to take a break! There will also be ear plugs at the door!

Childcare will be available on the 13th floor until midnight! Suggested donation of $5 per child per hour!

There will be alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase! Be sure to bring your picture ID if you plan on purchasing the beverages of alcohol!

There is no dress code, except what is required by law! Cover your bits with tshirt and shorts, fancy dress, costume, whatever is most comfortable to you! Don’t have something you consider comfortable? Visit our Clothes Closet in the Community Room! (And read about both of those things in upcoming blog posts!)

I don’t think I can handle any more exclamation points! But I’ll use one more to say can’t wait to see you all at SkeptiProm!

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS — Donations help SkeptiProm happen! https://skepticon.org/donate/
And register if you’re planning on attending SK11! https://skepticon.org/register/
You can still get a discount on a room! https://skepticon.org/where/
Let us know if you will be using childcare! https://skepticon.org/childcare-will-be-available-at-sk11/

Introducing SkeptiShop!

Howdy again, Skepticonites!

Earlier today, we introduced our new vendor room, where there will be loads of lovely vendors to sell you all those things you didn’t know you needed. Well, Skepticon will have it’s own vendor spot, known as SkeptiShop!

As you may know, Skepticon and our fearless leader, Lauren, were defendants in a lawsuit filed in Ohio that started 2 years ago. That suit was dismissed, but we still owed about $19,000 on our legal bills. Recently, the same plaintiff sued Skepticon and Lauren again, but in our home state of Missouri. We have high hopes for a good result from this suit, but the legal bills are adding up again.

SkeptiShop will have a whole bunch of handmade artsy craftsy stuff that has been donated to us by friends, family, and sometimes virtual strangers who took pity on our plight. 100% of the proceeds from SkeptiShop will go to pay down our legal bills.

Do you make artsy craftsy type things, and do you also take pity on our plight? Feel free to donate items to SkeptiShop for us to sell! We’ll give you a fancy letter you can use as a charitable tax deduction, if you’re able to use such a thing, plus lots of high fives, and your name on the sign at our shop. If you have a donation to give, please email [email protected] to discuss arrangements!

Thank you in advance for supporting Lauren, Skepticon, and our legal woes!

Love,
Team Skepticon

PS — Our wonderful co-defendants are also still working on paying off their previous legal bills, and some of them are also getting re-sued in their home states. Help them out, if you can, at https://www.gofundme.com/defense-vs-carrier-slapp