Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'll be speaking at TAM8, but I need your help!

EDIT: Holy crap! You guys absolutely destroyed my fundraising goal! More information here. I love you all. Seriously, free fucking hugs at TAM.

I just found out that I'll be speaking at The Amaz!ng Meeting 8, the annual skeptical conference (or more accurately, the epic skeptical extravaganza) organized by the James Randi Educational Foundation! My talk will be during the Sunday session on "Skepticism, Humor, and Going Viral: What we can learn from Boobquake."

Needless to say, I'm super excited. This my first time speaking at a skeptical conference, and I can easily say it's the biggest skeptical conference out there. Setting the bar high, I guess.

But it's not just about people hearing my talk - TAM is an amazing networking opportunity for skeptics. I've been repeatedly told it's one of the few places where you can comfortably talk and mingle with all sorts of big name people. The list of speakers this year includes James Randi (of course), Richard Dawkins, Adam Savage, Penn & Teller, Rebecca Watson, Phil Plait, Michael Shermer, D. J. Grothe, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Simon Singh, Karen Stollznow... Yeah, wow. For someone who's just starting their skeptical career, and hopefully has many productive years ahead of her, this will be an amazing opportunity for me. There's just one tiny problem.

I'm kind of a poor college student.

My scholarships from Purdue have ended because I just graduated, and my first paycheck from the University of Washington doesn't come until mid October (and we all know how rich that grad student salary will make me). On top of that, TAM isn't cheap. Student registration is $350, a plane ticket is around $400, then there's hotel, airport parking, that awesome looking optional workshop on feminism... Yeah. I may be able to pitch in a couple hundred, especially if I eat nothing but ramen for a month, but I still need help.

So, faithful readers, I'm asking you to help a blogger out. I know the economy is tough, but it would mean so much to me if you could chip in even a dollar. Or if you don't have the cash, spread the word. I'm the kind of person who hates asking anyone, even my parents, for money, but some of my twitter followers said they really wanted to help me out. If I'm still short I'll beg mom and dad, but I'm not sure how two retired teachers outside the skeptical movement will react to me asking for money to go to Vegas.

If you can help, you can do so through PayPal using the ChipIn widget bellow:

EDIT: Widget removed because my goal was more than met. If you're really dying to donate more out of the goodness of your heart, I've added a PayPal button in the rightmost column.

What's in it for you? Well, for one, I'll definitely be blogging and tweeting about TAM! And if this opens doors for me (which it hopefully will), that only means more exciting blogging in the future. And if you're going to TAM, well, then you'll get to meet me!

But for those of you who need more tangible motivation... If you donate $50 or more, I will send you a personally autographed copy of the American edition of The Atheist's Guide to Christmas after it's release on Nov 2. Paypal will give me your email, and we can discuss shipping later.

And if that's not enough, if I reach my goal of $850, I will dance around my apartment naked! You won't be able to see it, but won't the world be a better place simply knowing it happened?

So if you can, please help out! I'd really rather not rely on hitchhiking to Las Vegas or selling myself into Hemant's harem for cash (he's supposed to be in my harem, goddammit!). Anyway, thanks in advance for your help! Now if you'll excuse me, I have some presentations to work on - TAM, Secular Student Alliance conference, Evolution 2010*... busy summer!

*In case you're wondering, the SSA conference is cheap and only a couple hours away, and I'm getting reimbursed for Evolution 2010 through my research lab...so, no, not just spending all of my money on those!

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