An Update re: Greta Christina

As many of you know, Greta Christina – a long-time Skepticon speaker and someone whom many of us on the team consider a much-loved personal friend – has been diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Yesterday she had major abdominal surgery, which will hopefully have removed all of the problematic tissue and completely resolved her cancer. Her recovery is likely to be long and less-than-pleasant, and at her doctor’s insistence, she won’t be traveling to Skepticon this year.

I spoke with Greta earlier this week about the possibility of having her make a live appearance via Skype, and she responded extremely positively. The tentative plan is to hold an audience-centered interview, deriving all of the questions from your submissions (click here to suggest a question!). We hope it’ll be a chance to keep Greta involved in Skepticon, and to allow all of you to converse with one of the movement’s true diamonds.

Greta’s participation is entirely conditional on a speedy and successful recovery. If she’s not up to it, she’s not up to it! Please take a moment to wish her well, and remind her that her movement is behind her through thick and thin. I’ll be forwarding your messages as they come!

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Camp Quest

 

Hello! Once again we have more information for you this time its about Child Care! Skepticon Welcomes Camp Quest to Skepticon 5. They have decided to offer childcare options for this upcoming conference. We appreciate their effort and think that this could be a great cooperation.

SK5 Lineup: Week 1

It’s a good one, guys.

I can’t even express how pleased I am to be announcing this Skepticon’s lineup. It’s really something else this year! To keep you all on the edge of your seats, we’re releasing our speaker list over the next few weeks – a few new names (and maybe a couple familiar ones…) every Monday. As always, we’re depending on you to help us fund our event – and if we can meet our weekly donation goal (this one’s $1500!) we’ll post the next bunch of speakers immediately. Please consider donating – the vast majority of our funding comes from individuals who want to see Skepticon succeed!

Alright, enough of my fundraise-y talk – let’s get to the names!

Jessica Ahlquist

We’ve been following this “evil little thing” since she started her battle with her public high school to have an unconstitutional prayer banner removed from its auditorium. Ahlquist has since won her case and become a prominent atheist activist, despite receiving innumerable threats from within her Rhode Island community. Jessica is a remarkably gifted speaker, and we’re very pleased to have her at SK5!

Greta Christina

If we’d failed to invite Greta back, we would’ve been due a revolt. Greta Christina’s SK4 talk has been viewed nearly 100,000 times on Youtube, making it the most popular Skepticon presentation of all time. If you don’t yet know who Greta Christina is, you’ve clearly been in cryogenic freeze – and now it’s time to defrost and read up.

Sean Carroll

A Harvard-educated theoretical cosmologist, Carroll specializes in dark energy and general relativity. He is a talented cosmologist and science educator, occasionally making guest appearances on the History Channel’s The Universe, the Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.. Take a look at his homepage or his blog.

Julia Galef

Another familiar face! Julia’s SK4 talk tackled the frequent straw-manning of rationalists in the media. A prolific skeptic, Galef writes for Measure of Doubt and Rationally Speaking and produces the Rationally Speaking podcast with co-host Massimo Pigliucci. She is currently in the process of launching a new non-profit organization dedicated to the teaching of rationality skills.

Skepticon Giving Back

 

Thanks to our speakers for allowing us to put their recordings online Skepticon has received around $125 from online support. In accordance with our promise we wanted to give this money back.

We decided to put the funds into individual loans through Kiva. “Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.” www.kiva.org

For more information on who Skepticon has been supporting, take a look at the links below.

Eufemia Margarita

Azhar

Fazilat

Bothina

Halima

Also i want to give a special thanks to our Media Production Team for making all of this happen.

Challenge Accepted

Richard at the Friendly Atheist recently posted his suggestions for ‘soft sell’ pro-atheist billboards, including:

To which we at the Skepticon team say:

We’ve priced billboards in the Springfield area and think it can be done for as little as $2,000 – and if we end with more? We’ll put it on buses in St. Louis and Kansas City. Here’s our concept template:

(Note that this is an updated version of our first concept, altered based on your comments and suggestions.)

But, internet – we need a star. And there are so many deserving candidates! Like these kittens punching holes in their known universe:

And these bulldog puppies:

And this fluffy kitten! And this awkward pair! And this slightly less awkward group of baby critters

Help us decide, internet!

[poll id=”2″]

And please, please help us pay for it.

Local Support

Tons of local businesses went out of their way to serve HUGE Skepticon crowds on short notice. Farmer’s Gastropub was AMAZING! Jimmy John’s and Pickleman’s showed us lots of love! Trolley’s opened early for us & made us a special express menu! If you had a positive experience with a local restaurant, please give a nice review!