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Weekly Reads: Skepticon and Child Care

Plus Gun Violence Bingo and the Genderbread Person!

Howdy Readers, it’s August the 18th and I know a lot of our kiddos are heading back to school tomorrow. Good luck to all the little learners out there, and stay at home parents, take five you’ve earned it.

Last weekend I had the extreme privilege to attend and volunteer at Skepticon 11. Its had been a two year wait since Skepticon 10, a delay made necessary by the Con’s move from it’s birthplace in Springfield, Missouri to St. Louis. It’s not easy wrangling Dinosaurs across a whole state. I was blessed with a great copilot for the drive, fellow Queen City resident and creator of the Queersplaining podcast Callie Wright.

It was a wonderful conference, part activist training, part family reunion, part science fair and part prom. I took TOO MANY PICTURES! There were workshops about how to get into podcasting (by Callie of course,) dealing with grief in turbulent times by Grief Beyond Belief founder Rebecca Hensler, and even a glimpse into the life of an evolutionary biologist with PZ Myers teaching how to build and use a phylogenic tree. PZ also led an impromptu spider hunt during Skeptiprom.

The speakers roster focused heavily on social justice and understanding intersectionality. Ashton P Woods spoke about how black liberation can’t be separated from the struggles of other marginalized groups and what white/cis/hetero folks need to know to be good comrades. Orbit Blogger Miri Mogilevsky walked us through how she created the secular rituals that helped her through the fire of her cancer diagnosis and treatment. And finally, author, podcaster, and purple goddess Marissa Alexa McCool finished with a fire and brimstone jeremiad against the bigotry and hate that even folks in our own movement heap on LGBTQIA folks, amongst others. Then she went out onto the sun deck and got gay ass married in front of some seriously perplexed muggles.

Marissa reads her vows to Devyn, with Aiden and Murph in attendence and Callie Wright presiding

One of the things Skepticon organizers were most proud of this year was stepping up our childcare game. While a lot of Skepticon is kid friendly, attendees might want to hand off the Hellions to the professionals in order to best enjoy and participate in the conference. Skepticon is partnering with TLC Family Care and they did a great job taking care of our littlest attendees. So I’m trying to get the word out, rugrats are no excuse for missing out on all the fun, love and dinosaurs!

Just a couple links to finish up…

Mark your calendars, October 19th is National Period Day.

The Genderbread Person is a teaching tool for breaking the big concept of gender down into bite-sized, digestible pieces.

Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism takes on the misguided logic employed by many Christians to “explain” gun violence in America.  

Why do we have so much gun violence in the U.S.? Why do we so many have mass shootings? Because reasons, that’s why.

NRA board member Ken Blackwell posted this meme to his Facebook:

The problem is not guns, it’s hearts without God, homes without discipline, schools without prayer, and courtrooms without justice.

If this really were the problem, we would expect countries with high levels of religiosity to correlate with lower rates of gun violence. But in fact, we seem to see the exact opposite.

According to the United Nations’ 2011 Global Study on Homicide, of the 10 nations with the highest homicide rates, all are very religious, and many — such as Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador and Brazil — are among the most theistic nations in the world. Of the nations with the lowest homicide rates, nearly all are very secular, with seven ranking among the least theistic nations, such as Sweden, Japan, Norway and the Netherlands.

Videos for all of the Skepticon talks and workshops will be up on the youtube page soon. But for today’s video I would like to share our fearless leader Rebecca Watson’s latest video raising the alarm about Sesame Street partnering with Autism Speaks, and organization may autistic persons consider a hate group.

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Lou Doench

Lou Doench is a 48 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at www.flickr.com/photos/blotz/

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