Feedback on the new layout

Those of you who browse from the main page will probably have noticed that Freethoughblogs (including this page) has a new layout. What may be apparent to you, but not to me, is how that has changed functionality with commenting, or the readability, or any number of other factors that affect how you use the site.

If there’s anything missing, inaccessible, or otherwise seriously problematic about the new format, please let me know in the comments or by e-mail. You can also tell me stuff like “silver is stupid” or “the new logo is for dorks” or “I like the old site better”, but please rest assured that I am ignoring you, because I can’t change that stuff.

Say hello to the new neighbours!

Those of you who browse the front page may have noticed that it has grown by one name. What you maybe didn’t know is that it actually grew by two names. That’s right, folks, we’ve got some brand spankin’ new FTBloggers!

First up, Miriam Mogilevsky of Brute Reason:

Miriam is a progressive feminist atheist currently attending a Large Midwestern University and studying psychology. After that, she hopes to get a degree in social work and pursue a career that combines activism with counseling. When not doing school things, Miriam spends her time reading and writing about social justice, mental health, sexuality, and politics. Occasionally she also interacts with people and sleeps. A few of her other interests include Russian literature, photography, and Cheez-its. In addition, she enjoys asking people about their feelings.

We also have Near Earth Object, a blog by Paul Fidalgo

Paul Fidalgo is a writer, actor, musician, and professional skepto-atheist. As communications director for the Center for Inquiry (which totally does not endorse anything on this site), he writes the daily blog series The Morning Heresy, and is also a contributor to Friendly Atheist. He holds a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University, and his original music can be enjoyed here. He lives in Maine with his wife Jessica and children Toby and Phoebe. You can endure his tweets as @PaulFidago.

Both Miriam and Paul are crazy-talented and friendly individuals, and I am quite psyched about their joining. Go and say hello!

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Crommunist’s #Eschaton2012 wrap-up

I spent this last weekend in Ottawa, attending the Eschaton2012 conference put on by CFI Ottawa. Invited speakers included biologist and blogger PZ Myers, Butterflies and Wheels author Ophelia Benson, No Longer Quivering’s Vyckie Garrison, Mangaka and educator Sara Mayhew, executive director of the National Center for Science Education Eugenie Scott, and a whole host of other truly impressive speakers and luminaries. And also me, for some reason. Yes, I received my very first invitation to speak at a skeptical conference, which was certainly a nerve-wracking experience. What follows is a brief summary of the weekend and my thoughts about it. [Read more...]

Eschaton-bound

I am currently in some form of en route to my nation’s capital, the city of Ottawa, where I will be at the Eschaton2012 Conference giving a presentation entitled Don’t Go In There! Talking about race and racism in the time of the zombie apocalypse. There will be no surprises in it for those of you who are regular readers of my blog, but maybe the visual element (and the soothing sound of my gilded voice) will make it all the more impactful.

I’ll be shuffling around downtown Ottawa on Friday afternoon. If anyone’s interested in saying hello, but can’t go to the conference, I’ll have a bit of time. Fire me an e-mail and I will try to organize some kind of meetup before the start of the evening’s events.

Here’s a picture of a dog I saw one time:

A dog painted to resemble a tiger

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Kiva project update: November 2012

Hey all,

So we got paid this week. In light of the fact that there’s an urgent need for donations in the American Eastern Seaboard and the Caribbean (particularly Haiti), I was thinking of foregoing our usual Kiva donation this round and splitting the funds between those two Red Cross projects. Keep in mind that Kiva is a microloan project, so that money is still circulating around various projects and we can re-loan once things start getting repaid. Essentially we would just be skipping a month.

If I don’t hear any stringent objections in the next 24 hours, I’ll just go ahead. [Read more...]

New face around the Manifesto

I’m excited and proud today to welcome a new guest contributor to the Manifesto, fellow Vancouverite and bodily autonomy activist Jamie James.

A pic of Jamie

You’ll probably remember Jamie from his guest posts focussed on his counter-picketing of anti-choice assholes in Vancouver’s east side. Jamie will be a welcome second (well, fourth) pair of hands around the blog as life continues to kick my ass and rob me of the time and energy to blog, while providing me with an endless stream of tantalizing topics.

Jamie’s first post will go up this afternoon, and be sure to check out his blog Haifisch Geweint. You can also follow Jamie on Twitter.

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No podcast this week

Hey all,

Xavier and I had planned to post the 4th episode of our still-unnamed podcast experiment, but illness robbed us of the opportunity at the last minute, so we’ll have to kick the can down the field a bit. My apologies.

By way of partial restitution, please accept this video of my band covering “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons:

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Can you recommend any good Tumblrs?

I am looking for the names of some good freethinking/atheist/skeptic Tumblr pages. My criteria for “good” are centred more around quality of management than quality of content (Tumblr being more of a great grab-bag for a lot of diverse kinds of things). Surely some of you either read atheist Tumblrs or run one yourself. I am looking for some solid recommendations.

Help a brotha out?

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Go say hi to the new neighbours

OhmanohmanohmanohMANohman!

So excited today. There are some fresh faces on FTB – maybe a couple of names you recognize:

Avicenna – A Million Gods

An Atheist Medical Student Stuck in a Land of a Million Gods. Avicenna is a British Indian medical student working on his clinical rotations in the land of his ancestors.

While I’m (relatively) new to Avicenna’s blog, he has quickly emerged in my mind as a voice that can’t (and shouldn’t) be ignored. While we don’t agree on everything (his recent ‘baggy pants’ post made me rage a bit), he’s a fearless advocate and will add distinctiveness and a new perspective to the FTBorg, so I am turbo-pumped that he’s agreed to join up. As a bonus, he’s posted a sort of ‘best of’ collection at his blog today, so that’s good news.

Avicenna on Twitter

NonStampCollector – The NSC Blog

If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby. Since 2008, NonStampCollector has been making anti-theistic videos on youtube, criticizing as many aspects of Christianity as stick-figures and bubble-headed cartoon caricatures will allow. After being ‘born again’ as a teenager, then enduring a slow, drawn-out, miserable deconversion, he did little about his atheism until discovering the work of Christopher Hitchens in 2007, and immediately joining the debate. A short time later, an imaginary dialogue between God and an atheist, literally scribbled on the back of an envelope, came to be the script of the first of over 50 youtube videos pointing out the shortcomings of Christian theology and apologetics that have accumulated more than seven million views. From Sydney, Australia, now living in western Japan.

If you’ve deconverted in the age of YouTube, there’s a fairly even chance that you’ve come across at least one of NonStampCollector’s hilarious and insightful Youtube videos. Heck, I’ve been a fan for a long time. As he explains in his opening post, the YouTube videos he makes take a long time to create, but he has a lot more to say and would like to transition into blogging, and he’s agreed to do that here at FTB. It’s a big coup for us, so we’re overjoyed to have him.

NonStampCollector on Twitter

Go give our new FTBorglings our patented warm welcome! We’re going to be adding more new names over the coming months – some people you’ll probably know, some you may not – so stay tuned for that.

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