Typhoons are bad.

Skepticon is officially taking a controversial stance on typhoons: typhoons are bad. Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) is beyond awfulHaiyan-nasa.

You can help in two big ways at Skepticon.

This Friday at 1PM, Dale McGowan, founder of Foundation Beyond Belief is skyping in to Skepticon’s main stage to talk about the typhoon and how the humanist community is coming together to help with this and other disasters in the future. Expect hats to be passed at the event, but you don’t have to wait to contribute, click here.

If you’re short on cash and still want to help, next door to Skepticon is an event called Meals a Million. There you will be able to pack meals that fight hunger around the world. This year, they are sending a portion of its food to the Philippines as part of the relief effort. Space is very limited, but to help keep them working at capacity, Skepticon’s volunteers will be announcing opportunities to get involved.

Skepticon VANTS YOUR BLAHD!

There will be a blood drive at Skepticon on Friday Nov. 15 from 1-5 PM.

Bleh!

Bleh!

For this new project, the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is bringing a truckload of beds and a small army of volunteers.  Let’s dazzle them and make them wish they brought another truck!

Get involved and sign up early. Sign-ups will be available in the morning.

The drive itself will happen in the Atrium (the big room outside all the workshops).  See you there!

P.S. Regardless of if you are donating, stop by and sign a petition to take remove the ban on gay blood. Because gay panic is lame.

SK6 Launches Super Serious Schism

INTENSE

INTENSE!!1one

When you check in, you will be given a colored armband and an important mission: Win.

It’s the ultimate showdown of Red Team vs Team Blue and it could decide everything. Help your team win points to achieve victory and get the  TOTALLY AWESOME PRIZE!* How do you get in on this? At Skepticon, you can give blood, register to vote, even pack meals for Africa. There are also secret shenanigans to be announced at the event.

Make sure your friends are registered so that they can take part in the antics.

*High fives, bragging rights, and compliments to your attention to footnotes.

Sk6 Grant Winners!

carl iconHey Skepticoners!

We here at Skepticon HQ are super pumped to announce our travel grant recipients!

First up, the winner of the SurlyAmy Grant for Awesome Women who are Awesome:

Miri Mogilevsky!

“To be honest, the skeptical/secular community saved my life. When I first got involved a little over a year ago, that was the first time I really made friends who were into activism, writing, nerdery, and the other stuff I’m into. The people I’ve met through blogging and going to conferences have become my closest friends and they’ve supported me through a lot of difficult life stuff. Seeing them at these cons means the world to me”

and now, the Skepticon Dino Grant Winners:

Tommy Torres!

“My wife and I are recent skeptics/deconverts from christianity. We have kind of weathered the storm together and are still going through coming out to our families and friends. We are surrounded by religious people and it would be great to just get away and meet new people and friends who think like us. My wife is due with our third baby in December and it would be great to have one more mini-vacation before.”

AND David Gier!

“I want to attend because I enjoyed the conference last year for a number of reasons. I was able to meet new people, reconnect with friends I had met at the SSA conference last year, listen to great talks and find fantastic secular books, clothing and flair. I expect to have the same experiences as last year and get the same fantastic memories from it. Also, I hope this trip will benefit the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics at KU, of which I’m the president this year, to discuss issues, find new things to do in SOMA, and bond.

And now, the Secular Women Travel Grant Winners:

Rita Messer!

I am relatively new to the secular community, having been a Christian for most of my life until about a year and a half ago. Exposure to new ideas and a community of freethinking people assisted me in a transition that was a type of crisis. I expect to be challenged in my thinking, meet new people, and network in a way that will be helpful not only for my own development but also for that of the community I serve (as a speaker and organizer for Columbus Rationality and a cognitive-behavioral therapist). I am part of the Secular Therapy Project and have several clients who are at various points in their transitions away from faith and coming out to their families. As they seek support in their exploration of existential questions, additional ideas and resources that I can share with them from great thinkers in the skeptic/freethought community will be invaluable.

Brianne Triggs!

Seth Andrews is one of the people who heavily influenced me to take the final steps in admitting that I am an atheist. I listen to his podcasts weekly, connect with him on Facebook, and own his book, DEconverted. I benefit from hearing speakers who can dissect religious arguments with skill and a great attitude, rather than hearing religious communities bashed with hate and malice. Also, I am the only atheist in my very Christian family. Even my long-term boyfriend is religious! I yearn to connect with others in this freethinking community!

Xandra Best!

Last year was my first Skepticon, and it was amazing. This year, I expect it to be even better, because a bunch of my favorite speakers are attending! I’m really excited to hear what new topics they have to discuss, and what different perspectives they have to offer. I also really value the chance to network with other Skeptics. Skepticon is especially cool because it isn’t so limited to students/student leaders, so I get to encounter a much more diverse community. I really appreciate the opportunity to make and maintain connections with the wider skeptic community.

Maria Holt!

I want to attend because I have heard great things about past Skepticons. As treasurer and a member of SOMA who put on Reasonfest, seeing how other conferences do their organizing helps me organize our event. I also would love to meet and see people to further connections and relationships in the community out side my group.

and Amber Adamson!

My mother recently made the observation that she only knows two atheists, and one of them is me. I grew up in the heart of the deep South, amid a family which — with no exaggeration — posts to Facebook on a routine basis with prayers and insistence upon salvation from demonic influences. My aunt claims to perform exorcisms, and friends of my family have been known to remark upon sightings of Jesus standing in the trees. Needless to say, I haven’t had an opportunity for much atheistic solidarity in my life.

We super happy to help these skeptics make their Skepticon dreams come true and want to thank both SurlyAmy and Secular Women for their generosity and awesomeness.

If you would like to donate to these recipients travel costs or to Skepticon in general, click here!

Love,

The Skepticon Team

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

Thank You For Watching SK Speaker Videos

Rob Lehr of Hambone Productions has made a donation, on behalf of Skepticon and the atheist community, from the advertising revenue generated from the speaker videos to the Mtaani Centre, an HIV testing facility, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The money donated will not only fund the entirety of the center’s expenses for a year in which more than 1,000 people will be tested, but will also assist them in buying a house to run the facility rent free.

If you sat down and thoughtfully listened to Tony Pinn’s talk on the Fight Against Theism, teared up as JT Eberhard proposed on stage at the end of his talk, or even if you were one of the asshole commenters on Rebecca Watson’s tear down of popular evolutionary psychology, then we owe you our thanks. Especially if you accidentally clicked a link or you weren’t using Adblock. Double especiallies if you shared the link on Facebook and/or Reddit.

Also, we’d specifically like to thank the speakers for allowing us to monetize their videos wherever possible. Particularly anyone who’s talk generated 30 Reddit threads in less than a year that eventually direct everyone back to the video.

Skepticon would really like to give a hand to Rob for putting all of this together. He is an invaluable resource that puts countless hours of work filming, editing, uploading and maintaining the videos from past events.

Tonight, Skepticon would like you all to don your favorite bed sheet as a cape and jump off the couch.

Why?

Because now we’re all saving lives and it’s about damn time we dress the part.