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!


  1. says

    Just donated $50 for your trip. I wish I could contribute more right now… maybe after payday has happened I will ChipIn some more. Good luck!

  2. says

    Woot! Congrats, Jen. I just opened my wallet and a moth flew out, but I’ll be sending $10 your way when I get my next check.

  3. says

    I’d be very happy to make a contribution, but I no longer have a Paypal account, I canceled because of the way they handled a dispute. If Paypal/ebay was a country it would be a dictatorship.If you find another way to accept credit/debit cards, or if I can find someone with a Paypal account who will make the transaction for me.

  4. says

    If you’re *really* dying to donate, I suppose you could write a check and I can give you an address to mail it. I know you were one of the people to really encourage me to do this, but don’t feel pressured. I know Paypal isn’t perfect, but it’s the easiest way, unfortunately…

  5. pnwgreg says

    Just because a man is noble doesn’t mean he’s not cheap! I just sent $5 to your most philanthropic cause, and I feel better about myself already. After all, you are going there for the good of all of us! If you run short, I may contribute more, but I have a feeling you will achieve your goal quite hastily.

  6. Roy says

    If you’re going to be a speaker at TAM, why isn’t the JREF footing your flight bill?

  7. says

    JREF doesn’t pay for transportation or waive registration for any of its Sunday speakers. I applied to speak, I wasn’t personally invited (not sure if they support their invited speakers either)

  8. says

    I won’t have anything to do with online banking or payment, absolutely. I could send you whatever you need to make good the target figure, by Swift transfer, but I’d need your IBAN number. Alternatively a mailing address for a banker’s draft. Quite understand if you don’t want to give these out to a stranger, even by private e-mail. Alternatively, say so here and we’ll go to mail.

  9. Metal_Warrior says

    I’m not rich, but not poor either, even if there’s only one Euro left in my purse. And since I do live like a spartan, a little fun is worth more than 50 $ – so well, I take it I’ll read a lot of blogging soon…

  10. says

    I looked really hard, but I could see no way to use a card, maybe I’ll look again.EDIT: OK, got it! I manage two Paypal accounts for orgs, the cookies stopped me from accessing a non-account page, so I opened Google Chrome which has no cookies saved, but that only invites me to sign up.

  11. Someone Just Like You says

    I think the real question is “where did the money go?” The fact is that every year America sends billions and billions of dollars to Israel, money that is used to instigate Muslim rage against the United States and lead to terror attacks. This money could instead be used to help poor college students like yourself. Please everyone do what he or she can to end the illegal 62 year occupation of Palestine to an end, and bring the criminal state of “Israel” to justice for its crimes.

  12. says

    “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?”Threatening to dance naked, just as we enter hurricane season? Are you MAD woman? I live in Louisana, you’ll doom us all!

  13. CarrieP says

    I will talk to my co-spouse and see what we can contribute.In the meantime, if you are serious about the ramen, I highly recommend 101 things to do with ramen noodles. It’s only 10 bucks, and has some delightful recipes. A must for every poor college student.http://www.amazon.com/101-Thin…I had my copy for many years until I was well out of college, and bequeathed it to a co-worker’s daughter who was just moving out on her own.

  14. says

    TAM is a lot of fun, I went last year, you will enjoy it.I sat next to ORAC at Penn & Teller (seating was alphabetical order, so pure luck) and he said the registration was waived for him, not sure about the transportation.

  15. Ntsc says

    I’ve been following you since Boobquake and just knowing you are dancing naked is worth the contribution.

  16. says

    I’ve been following your blog for some time behind the veils of an RSS feed (What? It’s so convenient…) – I’ve never even posted here before. I follow several other blogs (PZ’s, Friendly Atheist, etc…), but I always look forward to reading yours the most. I don’t want you to miss this opportunity, so I pitched in $10 to help you out.

  17. TPRJones says

    That’s what I’m counting on with my donation. The only reason I’m still living in Houston is because I want to experience the eye of a hurricane from the inside. Hopefully this will help.I missed the eye of Ike by less than two miles. *sigh*

  18. wargamermike says

    Yes, what an ass! How about we use some of those nuclear weapons that the US has stored up and end the whole Middle East/Palestinian/Muslim vs Everyone permanently? It’s just as valid a use of money, allows us to test fire weapons and clear out our stock. Then, after the problem is ended, we spend more money on education because we aren’t fighting a Forever War or having to give money to Israel to defend itself against Muslim aggression.

  19. libraboy says

    Just sent $50. With your permission, I will picture you dancing naked at the appropriate time. Have a great time, and drop a note when you hit Portland!

  20. wargamermike says

    Sorry I went off on “Just Like You”‘s anti-Jewish/Israeli rag. I did chip in $5. If I decide that I want to visualize you dancing naked then I’ll kick in more because the idea of you dancing for joy naked would good.

  21. Greg23 says

    Won’t be going this year. Sent $50 so you can – that puts me about $1,000 ahead ;-)bTalked to you about it at Boobquake about this, sent e-mails to Phil & Randi, glad you decided to use the book idea.Have fun, bring back some of the winning chocolate…and enjoy the PARTY!!

  22. Metal_Warrior says

    No, Boobquake was 2010, so Boobstorm/Boobican would be something for 2011.

  23. Metal_Warrior says

    I don’t think you’ve caught the target of boobquake. It’s not the declaration of nudity, but a(very lax) scientific experiment. If you’re looking for naked women, just try xxx in google…

  24. guest says

    Is ChipIn not showing anything for anyone else? I just chipped in $50 but it still says $0 of $850.

  25. Metal_Warrior says

    There’s always two in a war, not just one. No one is innocent here, not the government of Israel, not the Hamas. But what really strikes me funny is the fact that you’re defending people whose only argument on being sole heir of the land is a 2500 year-old book which claimes to be the written word of a god – and you’re doing that on a webpage which is the written word of atheists…Sorry, guy, that freaks me out… :D

  26. libraboy says

    Different event, same year, to create a hurricane, rather than an earthquake. Of course Jen can do two major events in one year! :)

  27. Metal_Warrior says

    Opera (v 10.53) doesn’t get information either. Maybe tomorrow (if it’s just actualized once a day)…

  28. Metal_Warrior says

    Sure, since she’s busy about dancing right now and therefore deep into work ;)

  29. javamann says

    Damn, I was too late for the widget (whatever that was) so I just gave $50 to your blog. You’ll have to excuse me now so I can dance naked around my room. (male version of boob quake).

  30. Erik says

    You know what, I may be mistaken. They *used* to allow you to pay with a credit card without signing up (we used to direct our e-commerce customers there for that reason) but it looks like that option has recently been removed. Sorry about misleading you!

  31. says

    I can see your point, but the Jews actually have a historical, non-biblical claim. The nation of Israel existed and Jews had a presence in the region until the Romans forced them to leave, having gotten fed up with their constant rebellions. The “Palestinians” never existed as a people prior to Arafat starting the whole “Palestinian” movement. The area was part of the Ottoman Empire and taken over by the British and French after WWI. The Jews simply went back to the area their ancestors came from, whether due to Zionism or other influences. The modern issue comes down to the Jews emigrating to “Palestine” after WWII. The Muslims/Arabs didn’t like that. Given that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem went to Berlin during WWII and sided with the Nazi’s it’s a little hard believe but it’s true. :) So, the Jews fought back. The Arab refugees, who became the “Palestinians” are, mostly, the offspring of those Arabs who ran out on “their country”. Now you have two “Palestinian” pseudo-states who deny the existence of Israel. Who teach their children that the Holocaust didn’t happen, that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are true and that the Jews are monsters who eat and drink human flesh. How can you reason with people like that? What is really stupid is that the two people share a common heritage, are both Semitic in origin, share a common ancestry up until Abraham (if you believe their sacred book) and have similar food strictures and yet they hate each other.

  32. Ray says

    Jen, Glad you made your goal! I can totally get behind the dancing naked thing. Thanks for that mental image, I picture Snoopy’s happy dance from the cartoon “Peanuts”.Cheers, Ray

  33. rabbitpirate says

    “Seriously, free fucking hugs at TAM.”I’m not really sure what a “fucking hug” entails but you may want to give those out in private, TAM is a family event…plus I can’t go so won’t be getting one.

Leave a Reply