Activism is not easy. It is a lot like teaching. We do not do it for the money. That would be crazy, since most of us actually pay for the privilege of being activists and teachers, well, let’s just say they’re under-appreciated. We do it because we love it. When a job is intrinsically rewarding, it is hard to know when to stop. And we still need to eat and pay our rent/mortgages, just like everyone else.
It’s the middle of conference season. This year I have not increased the number of conferences I am attending, but I have stepped up my involvement a bit. As I do every year, I attended the Annual Convention of the Western Psychological Association and, although I had a terrible trip, my students were great, the research we presented was interesting, and I saw some amazing wildlife.
Coming up soon is The Amaz!ng Meeting 8 (TAM8), the annual gathering hosted by the James Randi Educational Foundation – this year the Skeptics Society and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) will co-sponsor. I usually like to relax and watch the talks at TAM, but this year I’ve volunteered to help out with the Teacher’s Workshop on Thursday as part of my “duties” on a general advisory panel for JREF. To cap off the trip, I will be giving a talk during the Sunday morning session titled Skepticism as a Gateway to Science Literacy.
Since last fall I have been hoping to bring some students to TAM8 in hopes that they will discover how important, fulfilling, and fun activism can be. This meeting is the largest of its kind and very enriching for a skeptic new to the cause. It is a fantastic place to network and bond with like-minded people. However, we got a late start getting Woo Fighters off the ground and fund raising has been difficult. Students rarely have the funds to attend multiple conferences and they must attend academic ones as part of their education. So, we are asking for your help. Every little bit counts. Some very dedicated people have been extremely generous, and I am hoping that the greater community will show us that you understand the need to promote the efforts of young, qualified scientists to become tomorrow’s science communicators by donating $5 (more is welcome and needed, of course, but the gesture is significant itself) to helping these students get there this year. I think that if we can get them off the ground, they can take it from here.
Read the post, or just click on the button at the bottom of this post to help out.
Finally, I will be participating in Skeptrack at Dragon*Con again this year. The tentative schedule looks like a winner with panels on Shopping Skeptically, Skeptical Sex, and the usual science stuff. I am particularly looking forward to participating as a student in Ben Radford’s workshop on investigating paranormal phenomena.
I hope to see some of you at TAM8 or Dragon*Con this year. Please say hi if you see me!