As of a couple weeks ago, the 3rd annual Skepticon conference was going to take place in November at a 500-seat venue in Missouri. For the first two years, it was free of charge to anyone who registered, and the people running the show wanted to keep that going.
But when your speakers include PZ Myers, Amanda Marcotte, DJ Grothe, James Randi, Rebecca Watson, and several others, that venue’s going to fill up fast.
It did. Quickly, too. With three months to spare, the 500-seat venue was filled up to capacity. They needed more space or else they’d have to tell registrants on the waiting list that they were out of luck.
It’s still free and you can sign up for it here. If you don’t, you better have a damn good excuse, especially if you’re within driving distance. (If my students didn’t have a Speech Team tournament that weekend, I would *so* be there.)
You’re welcome to make donations. In a couple weeks, the folks at Skepticon will be selling a sexyhot calendar to generate funding. I’ve seen some of the prints (because I’m special). Not only is the photography beautiful, the pics are just awesome. And possibly NSFW. I’ll post something when the calendars go on sale.
It’s incredible to see notable atheists speaking at such a large conference, right in the heart of the Bible Belt.
Incidentally, the man filming Skepticon 3 is Rob Lehr, an honest-to-goodness atheist hero. Last year, a small plane he was in crashed. Here’s JT Eberhard‘s description of what happened:
However, Rob the uncaring atheist was the passenger that lept out of the plane before it could spiral down (ultimately landing upside down and bursting into flame upon impact before exploding five minutes later). The gash on Rob’s head would later require six stitches and he also has a fractured leg. After landing, he went back into the burning plane and pulled out an unconscious Dan, then went back in after the co-pilot. In the process of unlatching the co-pilot’s seat belt Rob’s arm caught on fire (he has burns up and down his arm from it), yet he still managed to get the co-pilot free. It was at this point that the locals dragged Rob and the co-pilot to safety. If the co-pilot lives (he’s currently in critical condition), it may very well be because of Rob’s selfless bravery. I’m very proud of Rob, and infinitely grateful that one of my closest friends is alright. I’ve always known that Rob had this type of character.
The reason I bring this up is because Rob’s company is making a documentary called Give a Damn?, about “two idealist activists who convince their friend, who is uncertain about his responsibility to care about the poor, to immerse himself in poverty by traveling through the US, Europe, and Africa living on $1.25 a day.”
The company is in the running to win a $50,000 grant from Pepsi if they can be voted into the Top 10 project ideas. (As I write this, they’re ranked 46.)
To vote, you have to text 101607 to Pepsi (73774).
If you can, please support a fellow atheist and vote.