SkepTech

…was spectacular.

-There were many more panels than I’d seen at previous cons. I don’t usually love panels, but I’m very supportive of this system if it means introducing new voices. (Olivia James, one of the first-timers, got spontaneous applause on multiple occasions throughout the Real World Activism panel. Damn.) We talk a lot about this being a young movement, a movement that anyone can join and become a part of. That’s only true so long as we work to find new speakers and leaders–otherwise you have an old guard and where’s the fun in that?

Safe Space

-Safe space hangout zone! I took advantage of this often. After three hours of class and a six hour drive to Minnesota, the conference looked like Introversion: Advanced Mode. The zone (lots of open area with clusters of seats and windows, located behind the tabling space) was perfect. Either by coincidence or design, it was out of the flow of con traffic, meaning no forced interactions, and quiet. Conversations were relaxed and participation wasn’t required–I spent a good deal of time listening to brilliant people arguing.

-And did I mention the panels? I love when panelists disagree–and the organizers tried to make it happen. Panels are exciting when there’s a debate, when sides are chosen and audiences divided. And there were! (Our moderator threatened us with a nerf gun. Never a dull moment.)

-The Wall O’ Tweets! It wouldn’t be a con without live-tweeting, and SkepTech had a simple way of letting audiences see what and who were tweeting. The setup was simple: TweetDeck, one projector, and judicious use of filters to collect relevant tweets. Very occasionally this was distracting–some speakers were sidetracked or interrupted by laughter at tweets they couldn’t see. Other speakers and panels incorporated tweets and tweeted questions into their presentation.

BHRvKw1CIAATcC-

Olivia won the contest–and got a plush sperm cell.

-(Plush) microbes! There’s nothing like “Thanks for that talk. As a gift, we’d like to give you gonorrhea!” Each moderator and speaker got a different one–as did the winner of the Twitter contest.

A wonderful weekend–and here’s to hoping for a SkepTech 2.

Photo credit: Geeks Without God

New, New, New

New Years, new ideas, new things.

So, what say you to some new ideas for my blogging? I’m really looking for your responses, and yes, they will effect what I decide to do.

Important: I am Kate, not Ashley. I speak only for my posting. So, if you tell me I need to be making more ukelele videos, that’s nice, but I can’t sing, and you sure don’t want to watch me try to play music. 

Idea One: A weekly segment on a single mental illness, how it can present, criteria for diagnosis, myths and misconceptions, and holes and flaws in the methods of treatment and diagnosis. This got pretty great responses on Twitter, so it’ll be happening. Ideas for the first illness are much appreciated!

Idea Two: Mental health skepticism! I keep meaning to do more of this, but it’s slipped by the wayside. There’s a lot of nutty ideas out there about psychiatric medication (Do SSRI’s cause suicide?), therapy (Rorschach, anyone?), IQ tests, and on and on. I’d like to talk more about that.

Idea Three: Asexuality. Fun fact: I am under the ace umbrella. I keep meaning to write a general post about it, or a more specific one about (A)sexual, an excellent documentary, recently released, but somehow I never finish.

Other things in no particular order: These are titles of pieces that I’ve been meaning to write about, or haven’t gotten out of my drafts, and still haven’t managed to. If you like anyone especially (or conversely, dislike anyone), I’ll take it into consideration.

  • No True Scotsman, Apathy, & the Deep Rifts
  • DSM 5 vs. DSM IV
  • The varying levels of stigma associated with different disorders
  • Alternative Medicine as Complementary Treatment: Still a Problem
  • Making Your Conference Introvert/Social Anxiety Friendly
  • People Who Benefit From Therapy and People Who Have Mental Illness: A Venn Diagram

Is there other stuff I’m leaving out that you’d like to see? Comment below! Also, it’s a new year, and I need more blogs to read–self-promote or promote other people!

Skepticon: Come Say Hi!

Kate here.

I’m at Skepticon today! If you are too, come say hi. I like people very much, and I’d love to meet you. I look very much like my picture (scroll down on the right side of the page), and my nails are painted bright yellow. Especially come say hello if you want to talk about Foundation Beyond Belief–in fact, I hear they’re looking for spring interns.

I’ll also be at the FtB get together at Farmers Gastropub tomorrow–hope to see some of y’all too! Until then, workshops and lectures and friends, and best of all, not being stuck in the university bubble.

Over half a million views

I know it’s small potatoes to most of the people on this network, but I’ve officially passed 500,000 lifetime views on my old WordPress site and this site.  Not a bad marker for my third blogging birthday!

2011

Hits: 137,640

Biggest Month: December with 50,568

Biggest Day: January 8 with 20,225

Top 5 Posts:
1. Sarah Palin’s Target List and the Assassination of Gabrielle Giffords – 35,052
2. Why does anyone like Ron Paul? – 33,900
3. Why “In God We Trust” is a Problem – 6,956
4. My Vagina is Destroying America or Love from Ron Paulians – 5,150
5. Columbia Coalition of Reason Hate Mail: Part I – 2,648

Books Read: 100 (posts coming!)

Top 11 Referrers
Facebook 24,960
Reddit 11,985
freethoughtblogs.com 9,758
fark.com 2,625
godlesspaladin.com 2,243
associatedcontent.com 1,350
Twitter 1,261
lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com 1,079
voxday.blogspot.com 1,048
patheos.com 795
npr.org 449

I am most excited about Associated Content and NPR… there was also a Slovenian site I got a lot of referrals from, which is cool.

Some Selected Search Terms
gay hippo 27
big nose women 15
beauty dicks 8
ashley miller porn 8
13 year old tits 5
fat girl with red hair 5
ashley adams tron ass 4
how does the character of ronnie experience prejudice even he is white?why is he discriminted against 2
fat but pretty girls 2
girls are retarded 2
very fat girls with red hair 2

Where I sent people
addictinginfo.org/2011/09/07/10-quotes-that-make-ron-paul-sound-racist 2,444
ashleyfmiller.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/sarahpac_0.jpg 2,114
gravatar.com/0d262906b009644fcd4e3e268c6bf5cd 501
ashleyfmiller.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/p7w.png 484
newsone.com/nation/casey-gane-mccalla/why-ron-pauls-racist-newsletters-matter 480
youtube.com/watch?v=nHoaZaLbqB4 375
ashleyfmiller.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/sp.png 362
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assassinated_American_politicians 342
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect 258
ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/statement-of-faith 231
wrongpaul.tumblr.com/post/14067691055/why-i-hate-ron-paul-supporters-they-lie-deny-and 195
ashleyfmiller.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/ch090204.gif 178
prisonplanet.com/articles/january2008/011308_not_racist.htm 146

Are The New Viewers Gone Yet?

My website exploded yesterday.  I’ve had some big days, thanks to links from PZ, but I actually went viral all on my own yesterday.  I mean, nothing like Afro Ninja, but I was a top ten post on WordPress with 20k hits in 12 hours.  The hits have already become relatively anemic compared to that, but there are still plenty of new eyeballs coming in my direction.  My hopes that one of them is a Hollywood Producer who wants to make my scripts haven’t been fulfilled, but the day is young.

Also, nominations for the bloggies are still going on, if you kind stoppers by would be willing to put me up for best kept secret or best writing.

I matter! Briefly...

The weirdness of blogging

The majority of my hits in the last month have come from people searching for Alexander McQueen.  It’s the second most common search engine term for my page, just behind otters.  As we all know the vast majority of my posts are about otters wearing high fashion.

Other interesting searches that led people to me: i agree with scalia, i hate you ashley, bad for actors to stalk casting director, aleksandr mcqween, series of unfortunate gays, how to create a theocracy in the US.

I particularly love “series of unfortunate gays” and someone apparently searching for a how to guide for turning the country into a theocracy.  I feel like I need to make some sort of directory so that the posts I think are worth reading are easy to access.  EDIT: New category, problem solved, now I just have to label them.

Random thought: All the other Ashleys in Hollywood are guys.  I don’t know how to feel about that.

Update

Hey people who may be reading this, sorry for the long absence.  Recovering from the holidays and surgery.  Don’t worry, I’m fine, but not quite up to blogging yet.  Still having my every whim catered to by my family, so I’m just going to milk that for a while.  Only came back to mark some Eddie comments as spam.  Because they were kinda gross.

See you in a few days, promise.