The Curious Case of the Mega-Shark, Locked in Mortal Combat with the Giant Octopus

My forfeit for Geek Girl Con having raised $2500. Yes, this means I’m participating in the DIY Science Zone track at GGC, specifically, doing a set of demonstrations about statistics, randomness and 20-sided dice.

A silent film about two giant underwater monsters. Done for Geek Girl Con 2014 fundraising, with great regrets. When the fundraiser hits $5000 raised, I vow to play Battletoads beginning to end, with unlimited lives, on Twitch.tv! Donate now to inflict pain upon me in retribution for my making you watch this nonsense!

Fonts:
Nickelodeon NF – http://www.1001fonts.com/nickelodeon-font.html
Little Lord Fontleroy – http://www.dafont.com/little-lord-fontler.font

Music: Royalty Free silent film score by Kevin MacLeod

http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/?genre=Silent%20Film%20Score

Hyperfun, Fig Leaf Times Two, Amazing Plan, Villainous Treachery
(and some sub-thirty-second snippets that would be spoilers)

Visit the Donations Page to donate to Geek Girl Con. Do it now!

Visit… well, right here… to point and laugh at the performing monkey.

The Hangouts I’m facilitating at #FtBCon 2

I’ve got the Google+ Events that I’ll be facilitating all set up for the convention this weekend! Check it out:

FtBCon2: Welcome / Orientation

FtBCon2: Evidence-Based Feminism

FtBCon2: When You Need a Hand, Not a Prayer: The State of the Secular Support Movement

FtBCon2: Between A Rock And…: Non-Binary Gender in Atheism

FtBCon2: Racism and the Zombie Apocalypse

FtBCon2: Women in STEM

FtBCon2: Trans* Representation in Video Games

FtBCon2: Godless Perverts Story Hour

FtBCon2: Secular Asian Community discussion

FtBCon2: Bible Study (or Taking the Bible Seriously as Fiction: A Read-Along)

FtBCon2: Curtain Call

Okay, I’ll admit it, I made this post mostly as a to-do list for my own purposes. Why do something that only has one purpose, when it can have two by simply posting it at my blog as well?

Skepticon video: Greta Christina – Avoiding Activist Burnout

I absolutely loved the shorter version of this speech that she did at another con a while back, and was pleased to get to see it live. Unfortunately for me, though, Dave Muscato of American Atheists had put out a call to the intertubes asking whether or not anyone had a flash card reader and the ability to transfer a movie file to him by email. I happened to be on my laptop with a flash card reader and an internet connection, so I swept out to be the big damn hero and ended up missing a significant chunk of this speech. I’m happy this video exists so I can fill in the missing bits.

At the moment, I am actively attempting to control my activist burnout by learning Java programming, learning LibGDX, and generally pursuing my pipe dream of building a rogue-like Castlevania-alike platform game with retraversal and RPG stats*. It seems like a more immediately attainable goal, to me, than expunging sexist sentiment from a community whose members often prioritize getting along in a big-tent fashion rather than actually fixing the systematic empathy failures entrenched in some quarters.

* If you don’t get this, and care, ask me. I’ll explain. At length.

Beta-testing a new feature.

I’ve had the plugin that I’ve been talking about for Freethought Blogs mostly-done for a few weeks now, and I’ve had it installed on the live server for that time with no ill effects. Tonight, I managed to get the final pieces of the puzzle out of the way, and it’s ready to go live.

However, I never like to go into production without a slow rollout, with only the bravest of the brave testing out the features and making sure things are kosher. So, here we are.
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While in Cambodia…

… do all your banking at FTB ATMs.

Cambodian ATM sign: "FTB ATM"

I totally didn’t hack it to shave off pennies from every transaction into my own account, honest. And all bank fees go toward the campaign to kill all local deities, naturally.

Sent to me by Ben Sweatervest Blanchard, of the Pathfinders Project. He’s in goddamn Phnom Penh and he thought of me, to send me an image meme he found on the internet, and a photo he snapped himself. (The meme, I’m going to save for a rainy day, it’s that good.)

Attempting to fix comment preview bug

Just so everyone’s aware, I just made a small change to the comment preview plugin to wrap the comment preview in the correct CSS div class. As I made this edit within the plugin itself, it’s not going to be future proof — if we update that plugin, my change will be reverted.

The correct solution is to edit our stylesheet to honor both div classes, or change the class we use for our comments, but either of those might have ripple effects, and I was in a rush this morning so I did the least intrusive change to potentially fix the problem. Worst that can happen here is the preview is still broken.

Can you folks kindly test and let me know if it’s better now? If so, I’ll see about making a more permanent change ASAP.

FtBCONscience: the seven panels I’m facilitating

Here’s a convenient list of the seven panels I’ve got set up as On-Air Events on Google+. All times are GMT -5 (Central).

FtBConscience banner

FtBCON: Atheism Is Not Enough
Sat, Jul 20, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
As proven by the deep rifts that exist within movement atheism, a common acknowledgement that there is no god is often not enough ground on which to build a coherent, lasting community. Social justice movements often encounter tipping points where they either take into account the natural allies that are other movements, or they fail. This panel will discuss how movement atheism should not be the end-point of a journey into social justice, but the beginning.

FtBCON: Atheism, Science and Art
Sat, Jul 20, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Artists within the secular, scientific and skeptical communities online discuss using their art to popularize their preferred field. Hosted by Amy Roth and Glendon Mellow.

FtBCON: Skepticism and the DSM
Sat, Jul 20, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Multiple personalities? Personality disorders? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) contains a list of all recognized mental illnesses. How valid is it? Kate will look at the best and worst mental health diagnoses and talk about what makes for useful skepticism when it comes to mental health.

FtBCON: Video Games, Religion and Morality
Sat, Jul 20, 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Religion and morality systems in video games are often grossly oversimplified, to the point where choices are entirely binary and you’re often forced, as a gamer, to do things that you might otherwise find appalling, like working in service of a god or gods. How are these heady topics handled in the slowly-maturing video game industry? Who’s already doing this stuff right? How can these topics’ treatment be improved?

FtBCON: Female Protagonists in Video Games
Sun, Jul 21, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Women make up 45% of the gamer population, a number that’s climbing rapidly toward parity. And yet, female protagonists in games are few and far between — and when games are exclusively fronted by female characters, they get far less marketing budget than their equivalent male-led titles. Why? What can be done about this?

FtBCON: Atheism and Grief
Sun, Jul 21, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Moderated by Rebecca Hensler, founder of Grief Beyond Belief. Featuring Freethought Blogger Greta Christina, Blue-Collar Atheist Hank Fox and Black Skeptics LA’s Nicome Taylor. “I’ll keep you in my prayers,” “Everything happens for a reason.” We’ve heard all the cliches. But what happens when we grieve free of myths and mysticism? How do atheists take care of themselves and of each other in times of profound sorrow? Grief Beyond Belief’s Rebecca Hensler moderates a discussion with panelists Greta Christina, Hank Fox and Nicome Taylor about their personal experiences of grief without God and how the freethought community can help provide rational comfort in times of tragedy and loss.

FtBCON: Where are the Asian Faces of Freethought?
Sun, Jul 21, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
John Xu the new Director of CFI Canada made this observation: “I have often remarked how little interest people of my ethnicity have for secularist and freethought issues. My theory is that this is because they are the product of very complicated and difficult social, political, and intellectual turmoils of the 20th Century. Most Chinese people I know are brought up with a single-minded concern about generating wealth and a general apathy about philosophical matters. This is likely because their parents lived through such hard times.” Although East Asians are the largest group of irreligious adherants in the world, the prominent faces of irreligion are white men like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris. The panelists will discuss and dissect assumptions and stereotypes about East and South Asians and their puzzling absence in representative numbers in the freethought and secular microcosm.

The Full Schedule for the convention is available at Lanyrd.com. All panels will be held via Google+ Hangout On-Air Events. Visit the official conference page for more details!

I have a full schedule!

I have a busy bunch of days ahead of me! Sorry if the blog goes slightly quieter for a bit.

Tomorrow I’ll be starting the set-up for CONvergence’s Freethought Blogs room (and I might even pitch in on the Skepchick room too… perhaps, if they ask nicely enough). The full convention schedule is ridiculously jam-packed with geekery and science. The Skepchickcon track is where all the skepticism and sciencey goodness is located, and it’s where I’ll be spending most of my weekend.

I made the cut on these panels:

Worldbusters!
Worldbuilders, you think you have a crackerjack rationale for how zombies work, or how the entire galaxy is populated with humanoids, or how your spaceships can travel faster than light…bounce those ideas off our critical panel of scientists. Panelists: Laura Okagaki, Siouxsie Wiles, PZ Myers, Jason Thibeault (mod)
Thursday July 4, 2013 10:00pm – 11:00pm

The Gods of Geekdom
The Avengers movie had several gods, atheists, agnostics, and Christians all mingled together- we comfortably mix up multiple pantheons and a hard-nosed scientific attitudes in comics and SF literature. How do nerds do that without their heads exploding? Panelists: Jason Thibeault, Ryan Consell, Fionnuala Murphy, Nick Glover
Saturday July 6, 2013 12:30pm – 1:30pm

The Real World vs. the Internet
A line is a blurring and a distinction is fading: social networking and online communities are becoming just as real as face-to-face engagements. Panelists: Jason Thibeault, PZ Myers, Lux Pickel, Stephanie Zvan (mod), Jamie Bernstein
Saturday July 6, 2013 8:30pm – 9:30pm

There were two other panels I was on in the first draft, that I guess got overbooked, and I’m not particularly fighting to get back onto. I’m more than happy with these ones, especially Gods of Geekdom. Though I do sort of wish I could have made Fight the Trolls, I would have been moderator on that — and Stephanie’s therefore a far better choice for that particular panel for two reasons.

I also look forward to having a terrible cold after this weekend as is tradition, and then the week after, I’ll be doing FtBCONscience! The full schedule is not yet finalized, and I expect there will be some fluidity to the panels (as there will be with when you folks decide to watch them), but I’m at least doing a panel on Saturday morning at 9am CT (subject to change), with Desiree Schell, Debbie Goddard, James Croft, and I’m wrangling a fourth guest. The panel is called Atheism Is Not Enough (named after my post), and we’re going to talk about atheism as a gateway into the wider world of social justice activism.

My organizer line is pretty packed, in fact, so it looks like I’ll be getting my fill of moderating panels (read: herding cats) after all.

Look forward to seeing you all! Both in person, and virtually.

The contact form is now changed…

Ed got annoyed after one too many letters like this:

Name: kristopher kusch
Comment: I would start off by saying that even though I disagree with your faith, I do respect that you have one. Faith is believing in things that you cant see,so with that thought yes by definition people who believe in Jesus are opperating in faith. The fact that you haven’t seen him and dont believe in him follows that same amount of faith. I would add that my heart isn’t to prove you wrong. What I’m asking you to consider is this, is it possible that you are angry with God.

SNIP.

My only response to this, was “*sigh*”.

So, because of his annoyance, the contact form has been modified to be for technical support only. I included the language he gave me verbatim. (With a slight tweak to retain the “we will do whatever we want with the info you put in this form, be warned” language I inserted the first time around. You know, the language that gives me carte blanche to post this.)

The full rant is below the fold, if you’re interested.
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