Updates!

HELLO!

We almost forgot to tell you about two new things at Skepticon this year!

The first is that we will be changing our seating around in the Main hall so that the center sections will all have tables so that you may be able to utilize the space better. Now for those of you that prefer the theater seating, we are keeping the wings the same. This should give you more room, and a better verity of seating options. We know that we have a lot of bloggers out there that attend skepticon, and we wanted to give you the ability to take notes if you wanted. With this setup, there will not be charging stations except in the back of the house like it was before.

The second announcement is that we now have a mobile app!

All you have to do is:
1.) Go to http://eventsxd.com/download and Select your Platform!
2.) Search for Skepticon 10

With this you can search by Speakers, Rooms, or Tracks.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday Workshops Part 2!

SUNDAY WORKSHOPS!

Check out The Secular Women Workshops Track for Sunday!

 

Sam Farooqui – “Finding Your Way Around Moose”

Ex-Muslim issues can be really complicated for never-Muslims to parse. Frequently, never-Muslims fall prey to overcorrection, saviorism, or just plain silence. This workshop has been designed to educate never-Muslims on the intersections that tend to be involved where ex-Muslims are concerned, and how to work with and for those issues, in order to create substantive change.

Don’t miss out on Sam’s workshop on Sunday at 2:00 PM.

 

Stephanie Zvan – “How to do a Workshop”

Do you want to put on a workshop, but aren’t sure how to design an effective one? Learn how to use the interactive nature of workshops to build confidence while conveying useful information.

Don’t miss out on Stephanie’s workshop on Sunday at 3:00 PM.

 

If you haven’t yet, make sure you have registered for Skepticon10! its going to be Amazeballs!

Sunday Workshops Part 1

Sunday WORKSHOPS!

Check out The Skepticon Workshops Track for Sunday!

 

Eric Wells, Cora Hanf, and Amy Slavin – “How to Create, Build and Maintain a Local Secular Group”

“The Springfield Skeptics was formed from scratch in 2014 and since then has grown into a strong secular community providing a lively discussion forum, a place to vent, and social and community service events.” Hosted by Eric Wells, Cora Hanf, and Amy Slavin, Join their workshop called “How to Create, Build and Maintain a Local Secular Group” where they will discuss “tips and tricks to maintaining excitement, how to provide that sense of community which is often what keeps individuals returning to churches, how to select leadership, how to market and promote the group and much more.”

Don’t miss out on Springfield Skeptics’s workshop on Sunday at 2:00 PM.

 

Galen Broaddus – “How You Can Make Change As a Novice Activist”

Galen Broaddus talks about their role in lobbying and ultimately bringing a federal lawsuit over secular celebrants and Illinois marriage law, the lessons learned as a novice activist, and how other new activists can make their own change.

Don’t miss out on Galen’s workshop on Sunday at 3:00 PM.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you have registered for Skepticon10! its going to be Amazeballs!

Saturday Workshops Part 2!

SATURDAY WORKSHOPS!

Check out The Secular Women Workshops Track for Saturday!

 

Maddy Love and Marissa McCool – “Start your own podcast”

So, you wanna start a podcast.

Don’t miss out on Maddy and Marissa’s workshop on Saturday at 10:00 AM.

 

Rebecca Hensler – “Deescalation”

With every direct action, there is a chance the situation will get out of control. Explore ways to deescate before things get bad.

Don’t miss out on Rebecca’s workshop on Saturday at 11:00 AM.

 

If you haven’t yet, make sure you have registered for Skepticon10! its going to be Amazeballs!

Saturday Workshops Part 1

Saturday WORKSHOPS!

Check out The Skepticon Workshops Track for Saturday!

 

Jude Lane – “Expressing Humanism Through Service”

Following in the footsteps of our own Bentern(Ben + Intern), Jude Lane took it upon himself to join the Humanist Serice Corp after hearing Ben “SweaterVest” Blanchard speak at Skepticon 7! Now that he is back, he is hosting a workshop on “Expressing humanism through service”.

Don’t miss out on Jude’s workshop on Saturday at 10:00 AM.

 

Randall Jensen – “Alternatives to Healing: Transformative Justice and Unpacking Collective Trauma from the Criminal Injustice System”

We invited Randall Jensen to be one of our guests this year on our main stage, but one talk is not enough to encompass Randall’s awesomeness, so he is doing a workshop as well!

Join Randall as he presents “Alternatives to Healing: Transformative Justice and Unpacking Collective Trauma from the Criminal Injustice System” where in it he will discuss how we “work from a transformative justice framework and recognize the realities of the criminal injustice system’s impact on individual people’s lives, specifically those who live in this country with marginalized identities and experiences. Further, what happens when most resources for support are inaccessible and inappropriate for certain people and communities?  In large and small group activities, participants will discuss how individual people may need to navigate alternatives to healing to help keep one another safe from violence and trauma, particularly when working outside of traditional, mainstream systems of support (i.e. children’s division, mental health service providers, hospitals, law enforcement, etc.)”

Don’t miss out on Randall’s workshop on Saturday at 11:00 AM.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you have registered for Skepticon10! its going to be Amazeballs!

Friday Workshops Part 2!

Friday WORKSHOPS!

Check out The Secular Women Workshops Track for Friday!

 

Mandisa Thomas – “Creating a Welcoming Group”

You can plan the events, but to get people in the seats, they have to feel they belong.This workshop will walk you through making your group a welcoming one.

Don’t miss out on Mandisa’s workshop on Friday at 9:00 AM.

 

Monett Richards – “Organizing a Lobby Day”

We’ve clicked on action alerts, sent faxes, emails and texts. We have even called our elected officials, mostly to end up in voice mail. What’s the next step? Why not go visit them in person? Why not take your friends, too!

Don’t miss out on Monett’s workshop on Friday at 10:00 AM.

 

Debbie Goddard – “TBA”

Debbie has been a long time supporter of Skepticon and one of the original individuals that helped us get on our feet as an organizaion, she has been on our main stage multiple times and never misses a conference.

Don’t miss out on Debbie’s workshop on Friday at 11:00 AM.

 

Greta Christina – “Making Ourselves Relevant In the Resistance”

With all that is going on in the world, how can the secular movement remain relevant?

Don’t miss out on Greta’s workshop on Friday at 12:00 PM.

 

Ingrid Nelson & Laura Thomas – “Lessons from AIDS Activism”

Learn Direct Action from activists who have been there and done it. These members of ActUP will go over the lessons they learned during AIDS Activism.

Don’t miss out on Ingrid and Laura’s workshop on Friday at 1:00 PM.

 

Hiba Bint Zeinab – “Creating a Self-Care Plan”

We often talk about the importance of self-care. But do we know how to actually put it into practice?

Don’t miss out on Hiba’s workshop on Friday at 2:00 PM.

 

Stephanie, Monette and Jessica – “Imposter Syndrome”

Impostor syndrome is that feeling that you’re just faking what you do and are going to be found out any minute. It keeps us from fully appreciating our own work and from tackling new, ambitious projects that need to be done. Come gather tips and exercises to combat this problem and be a more effective, secure activist.

Don’t miss out on Stephanie, Monette and Jessica’s workshop on Friday at 3:00 PM.

 

Heina Dadabhoy – “Consent”

Heina was an attendee before she ever stepped on the skepticon stage, Will you join her as she continues the discussion about Consent?

Don’t miss out on Heina’s workshop on Friday at 4:00 PM.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you have registered for Skepticon10! its going to be Amazeballs!

Friday Workshops Part 1

FRIDAY WORKSHOPS!

Check out The Skepticon Workshops Track for Friday!

 

Heina Dadabhoy – “Improving & Reducing Your Screw-Ups”

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man… I screw-up a lot.” Then have we got the work shop for you! Join Heina Dadabhoy as they host the workshop “Improving & Reducing Your Screw-Ups”!

As Heina says “Everyone messes up sometimes. Here’s how to not put your foot in your mouth and do better next time in a world where few forgive and no one forgets. We will be examining various recent screw-ups and discuss what could have been done better.”

Don’t miss out on Heina’s workshop on Friday at 11:00 AM.

 

Chad McLaurin – “Culture War Skirmishes: Moving Forward”

“The ongoing culture wars for the “soul” of America is in full swing, and those who would narrowly define the norms for society are organized! Those who do not fit their definition of acceptable society (e.g., non-religious, LGBTQ, feminists, progressives, etc.) will be relegated to perpetual “outgroup” status until they are either swept back into the shadows by varying degrees of force, or are adopted into society as an ingroup member. The road to inclusion is multi-faceted, spanning public policy at federal, state, and local levels; social expressions of normalcy; and individual mindset.”

Join a very passionate Chad McLaurin for his workshops including “a brief presentation to help provide structure for interactive brainstorming and the development of strategic action points that will help individuals channel their efforts into the facets with which they choose to engage, based on their individual strengths.”

Don’t miss out on Chad’s workshop on Friday at 2:00 PM.

 

Nick Fish – “Unlikely Allies: Building a Coalition to Protect the Johnson Amendment”

Sometimes the political landscape seems overwhelming and you just are not sure what to do, well join Nick Fish for his workshop “Unlikely Allies: Building a Coalition to Protect the Johnson Amendment” where they “will discuss the national coalition fighting to protect the prohibition on churches and other 501(c)(3) nonprofits engaging in politics and how to build momentum behind this issue at the local level, including a training on how to lobby your member of Congress.”

Don’t miss out on Nick’s workshop on Friday at 3:00 PM.

 

Darrel Ray – “What I Learned From a Lifetime of Activism”

One thing that I love about what we do at Skepticon is that we bring together people with experience. One of our long time guests Darrel Ray has had the opportunity to know and work with so many Activists and comes to you now with his workshop “What I Learned From a Lifetime of Activism”

As he says, “Activism is a marathon, not a sprint. Effective activists act strategically and build strong bridges to allies. Today’s environment calls for all of us to become activists in some way. Learn what that means for you and how to avoid common self defeating mistakes many activists make.”

Don’t miss out on Darrel’s workshop on Friday at 4:00 PM.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you have registered for Skepticon10! its going to be Amazeballs!

Operation Workshops

AHHHHHHHHHHH! Skepticon is right around the corner! There is so little time and so much to do!

This year we wanted to adapt our lineup and do something a little different! Every year since we have started hosting workshops, I get the question; “What workshops are going to be on Saturday and Sunday?” Well… at the time we only had them on Fridays, but that is no more!

It might have taken us a few years, but we have changed it up and we are offering workshops each day during the conference this year. Every Day we will be announcing more and more workshops that will be at this year’s convention. So stay tuned for the Amazeballs that is Skepticon10!

If you haven’t yet, make sure you have registered for Skepticon10!

Inside Skepticon – Hand Over Your Money and the Dinosaurs Won’t Get Hurt

You can’t spell fundraising without the fun! And we can’t put on an amazebananas free-to-attend Skepticon without the fundraising. Almost all of the money needed for Skepticon comes from donations by wonderful people like you. We also pledge that every penny donated to the conference goes to putting on Skepticon. Raising that money is the responsibility of … The Fundraising Director!

Yeah, I know, not such a creative title, is it? Maybe we should change it to Dinosaur Feeding Director, or Dollar Floodgate Opener Director, or Money Coming At Us … Person. … Maybe we’ll just stick with Fundraising Director.

Anyway, at the beginning of the year we look at how much we’ll need to make Skepticon a reality (mostly based on what it cost the year before), and set a goal to raise that total. This year, we’re looking to raise $30,000. That’s a scary number for us. And it almost always comes down to the wire, or even a bit past the wire. We are usually still trying to meet that goal during the conference. The fingernails, they get bitten around Skepticon town.

About two thirds of that comes from attendee donations. These are usually made during registration, but for an extra special group of humans, donations are made every month. These are the the Dino Club members, they are the awesomest of the awesomest, and you can join them!

The rest of our funding comes from donations made by national sponsors (maybe 10%), fees paid for vendor tables (maybe another 10%), and the rest from merch sales at the conference.

And for our tenth Skepticon, (slogan: The Most Tenth Skepticon Evar!), we have an extra challenge. Yes, it just wasn’t enough that we need to raise funds for the conference this year. We’re also being sued by someone not worth mentioning here, and have to raise money for that, too! Whee. So, we would appreciate any donations you can make to our legal fund.

Here’s the deal with that – we refuse to use any of the conference funds on fighting this alleged individual’s worthless suit. Anything you donate to the conference goes to the conference. Anything donated to our legal fund goes to the legal fund. If there’s any leftover from the legal fund once we’ve won, it will roll into the conference fund.

Have I mentioned that our totally free conference needs your donations? I have? Oh good.

P.S. I know it’s really redundant on this post, but it’s super extra true. Your donations are what make Skepticon 10 possible! And if you really want to lighten our stress levels, please donate to our legal defense fund!

 

Inside Skepticon – I Like Big Bots!

In this modern age, everything depends on the interwebs, and Skepticon is no exception. We have a resident Tech wizard on the board, and his name is Bart! And do you know how we got Bart? He told Lauren that our website was a giant pile of [censored]. Yes, gentle people of all genders, this is how volunteer organizations work. Tell us that we have failed at something, and you too can be in charge of fixing it!

Bart was definitely up to the task, and now we have this awesome website you see all around you! (Note to readers on the Facebox® and Twittars®: we do not own these websites. There are some limits to the powers of Bart. Go to skepticon.org, that’s where the real magic happens.)

Most of the year the Tech role is pretty laid back. But during the conference, it is a very busy time. Bart is in charge of making all of the live video and audio work, including livestreaming and closed captioning. We also need to give a big shout out to Rob for literally putting his butt on the line every year doing the camera work. We salute your aching glutes, Rob!

In addition to the website and work at the conference, the Tech role is responsible for the safe and secure storage of our documents and passwords, and the configuration of team communications apps. We use Google Apps for our shared documents. Google gives us free access to the apps (nice) since we are a non-profit. Our passwords are stored and updated via an online password management system and/or a shoebox under Bart’s bed.

For talking at each other and sharing more gifs than you could ever imagine, we use Slack. And this is where the bots come in. The Skepticon slack channels are filled with all the great behind-the-scenes info we need to put on the show. To liven things up, Bart has added several chat bots. One, named Doug, is primarily there to post memes at anyone who says “don’t know” or “no idea”:

Troweling doggo has no idea what they're doing.

This doogo has no idea. Thanks, Doug.

Another bot is not interactive. It just posts “Cat Facts”, like:

Cat Fact 16: Similarly, the frequency of a domestic cat’s purr is the same at which muscles and bones repair themselves.

I don’t know what this even means. Muscles and bones repair themselves at a frequency? What sort of woo is this?

Cat Fact 34: In the 15th century, Pope Innocent VIII began ordering the killing of cats, pronouncing them demonic.

Lauren may agree with Pope Innie, but I had to respond to this outrage.

Human Fact 34: Despite numerous attempts to clean it dating back to the early 16th century, Pope Innocent VIII’s grave smells strongly of cat pee.

Take that, Cat Facts!

P.S. Your donations are what make Skepticon 10 and giant robots possible! And if you really want to lighten our stress levels, please donate to our legal defense fund!