Afternoon InquisitionRandom Asides

AI: Skepbook Launches

All right. Well, we’ve been having some great discussions on this blog the past couple of days about some serious and important issues. You all never fail to impress us with your knowledge, the strength of your opinions, and the acumen with which you relate them. So don’t ever stop with the great comments.

But let’s take a break from the serious with today’s Inquisition. Let’s have some fun get to know each other.

Facebook reported recently that it now has over half a billion members. Can you believe that? A half a billion people relating information about themselves that otherwise no one would ever know or care about. Well, today we launch Skepbook.

Tell us everything about you that you want other skeptics to know (include links to pics if you have them.) Create your Skepbook page!

What is your Skep-status? Who is Skep-tagged in your photos? Who are you trying to Skep-friend (friend them here)? What Skep-music are you listening to? Inundate us with information about you.

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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70 Comments

  1. “A half a billion people relating information about themselves that otherwise no one would ever know or care about.”

    Well just because a half-billion people are posting what they had for lunch doesn’t mean anyone cares about them.

    Unless they’re Justin Bieber.

    Or Rebecca Watson.

    Mike.
    SkepStatus : Married & Skeptical.

  2. feels like he’s in an atheist/skeptic (two seperate groups who may have a major overlap, but being one was not necessarily mean the other) desert. I’m in the Shenandoah Valley, about 2 hrs outside of DC. Between my location and the time/traffic it would take to get there and get back, it’s not realy feasible to get to one of these.

    BTW, I’ve been wanting to friend the skepchick pool boy, but appearantly, he isn’t on facebook. I think he needs to get his texan ass on facebook in a new york minute!

    BTW, I may be the only one who thinks twitter is a complete waste of digital space. You can do everything on twitter that you can do on facebook, but more so.

    There’s one high profile skeptic that I think worships the staff at Apple. I think when he looks at his grilled cheese, he sees the face of Steve Jobs. (hyperbole)

    I’m tired of fundamentalist whining about how we are taking their freedom of religion away. STFU! No, you’re trying to force your religion down our throat. Take your holy book and go pray in your closet like a good little …

    Sometimes, I want to tell people “you don’t know how to think, so do us both a favor, and don’t. You listen to the conservative commentators, who try to say they don’t spin things, but they don’t understand/have/care what the whole story is. If you’re going to follow someone blindly, go follow a skeptic blindly, there are plently of them-Geo, Randi, Shermer. They still may lead you wrong, but it’s less wrong then these fupid stuckers!”

    I need a list of good podcasts. One that I can come back to and download later. With so many of them out there,a nd the varying quality of them, I don’t know which ones to listen to, and which ones to ignore. Please, someone give me an idea.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VW49YKs0UM&feature=rec-exp_stronger_r2-2r-9-HM&videos=eMj4nXMLlno this is a totally creepy video. Its not meant to be factual, just as a joke. Don’t watch it for the first time alone, at night. And check out his other videos. He’s totally awesome. He bends your perception to his will. Like Richard Wiseman, but cuter!

    I have a very short attention span. It’s very hard for me to focus on a single topic for….hey, look, a shiny object. Gotta go!

  3. And, in the interest of bringing out the usual Skepchick Dude quality, I read this as “Skepboob”, not Skepbook.

    I have a half-track mind.*

    Ad res, I’ve added a few folks to my Facebook, but not done much Skeptically… my calendar is a minefield.

    *In that it is kinda awesome, usually off-road, pretty rugged, but totally impractical for most uses

  4. I’ve never really gotten the hang of Facebook but I was recently looking at a phone app called Layar that presents points of interest overlaid on a live view from your phone’s camera. The layers I’ve seen so far are mostly restaurants and businesses. Kinda wondering if it’d be worthwhile to create a layer for skep/sci/secular points of interest. Anything from labeling 201 SE 12th St Fort Lauderdale FL “JREF” to labeling Loch Ness “no monsters here!”. And, y’know, locations of interesting science-y things.

    It’d be fun but I’m not sure if there’d be enough points of interest to make it useful. Also, it looks like you need to set up your own MySQL database and webserver to host a custom layer.

  5. I’m just you’re general nerd. My career has been all over the place. I started as an English teacher in South Korea, came back to the US and went to work selling fine art. I’ve been a studio photographer, database designer, graphic designer, system administrator, then assistant managed an Apple store, became a Mac Genius, and eventually left that to work at a small outsourced IT company that specializes in Macs. Mostly I unscrew things, swap parts, and screw them back together. Ever since working for Apple, I feel my career has been stagnant.

    I want to go back to school, but at 41 it seems a scary prospect.

    I think that my time at the Apple store has left me with a minor case of PTSD.

    I live in Cincinnati during the week, and Columbus Ohio on weekends, when I see my girlfriend. She’s an old friend from college, and we had almost dated a few times, but went in different directions for a bit. We’re both divorced, no kids, and it’s been a blast being together, and finally getting to go back in time as it were to see how things would have gone.

    I’m politically and socially very liberal, and lean towards the socialist end of the spectrum. I keep up on current events like an addict.

    Skepticism is a refuge for me to keep sane in the face of an irrational society.

    I almost never get angry, but I do get frustrated from time to time. Some people confuse those emotions.

    I think that’s enough for now.

  6. Stream-of-consciousness-style: 32, Jersey-boy now New Yorker, artist but always wondered if he was not cut out for it because he isn’t crazy or alcoholic, married to my best friend, always tries to see both sides of a story at which point he has trouble making up his mind except when he doesn’t, 9 years of Catholic school and alls I got was this lousy atheism, wishes he had been at TAM to meet all of these people who he talks/types to almost every day, had his ugly mug posted on the front page of this very blog yesterday and was YIPPEE all day about it, also thinks, as does @infinitemonkey that Twitter doesn’t make sense I guess even though Elyse encouraged me so much, already FB friends with most of the regulars around here and I like that, will soon quit smoking again, indie rock snob, devourer of podcasts of all stripes, even applied for a job at Radiolab for which he was wildly unqualified, lover of Vonnegut, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur jr, cats and quiet apartments, new to blogging and loving it especially when one article he wrote directly helped people, will happily steal from Vonnegut for his epitaph ‘Everything was Beautiful, Nothing Hurt’ because I have gotten off so light, loves his mom, and apparently, loves talking about himself.

  7. @Skept-artist: I’ve got 2 Twitter accounts: One under my real name and one for the comic. I almost never post anything on the “real” account but I’m pretty active on the other one. It’s not like I’m incognito or anything since everyone knows it’s me but it also means that someone casually googling my name won’t find a whole bunch of #changehearttobuttsongs tweets.

    As for Facebook, I hardly ever log in unless someone says something like, “did you see the pictures I posted on Facebook?” and then I feel obligated to go look. (loginohhownicelogout)

  8. My skep-status is currently: Thinking is hard, but it’s worth it. And black and white are not the only colors.

    I am 35, recently engaged, trying to define what that means (and then explaining to all of our friends and family that it doesn’t mean what they think it means), and a science groupie. Lately I have been all about microbiology. Have you read this stuff about quorum-sensing and all of the neat stuff we are learning about bacteria??? It’s amazing! I am trying to get caught up on every episode of the “Meet the Scientist” podcast with Carl Zimmer.

    My favorite skep-music is “Science is Real” by They Might Be Giants.

    Right now I am reading (when I pull myself away from the internet) Tricks of the Mind, by Derren Brown, and, less skeptically, Kraken, by China Mieville.

    I also draw, write, and bake. Although less of all of those lately. I have been in an inspiration slump. My house is not really conducive to any of those things anyway, since we are moving to Washington, DC in 2 weeks and everything is in boxes.

    Anyone who wants to be my skep-friend outside of skepbook can find me at:
    http://www.facebook.com/jenniffermasterson
    or:
    http://twitter.com/LogicallyYours

    Meet the Scientist: http://www.microbeworld.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=37&Itemid=155

  9. Skeptical guy of the somewhat middle age variety, married 2a very cool lady w/2 great progeny.
    I like meeting and talking with interesting people a lot.
    I mess in people’s lives for the government.
    @Sam Ogden: ” YES! That’s the spirit.”
    I loves me some Blade Runner and SciFi.
    I enjoy history, philosophy and books, all kinds.
    I’ve an irrational love of golf and a rationalization for my love of ale, wine and scotch.
    I’d rather cook and eat a great meal with friends in the kitchen while drinking wine than just about anything else.
    @infinitemonkey: ”BTW, I’ve been wanting to friend the skepchick pool boy, but appearantly, he isn’t on facebook. I think he needs to get his texan ass on facebook in a new york minute!” Yes, Sam and his sorry ass do indeed.

  10. Current status: currently looking like I’m working, it’s a gift like anything else.

    listening to what ever comes up on my iPod, which is the Southhampton track from the Titanic soundtrack, it’s on shuffle.

    I love reading non fiction, mostly science and history.

    My two favorite shows are Star Trek and Gilmore Girls (I know I haven’t figured that out either)

    And if iterested I can be found at

    http://www.facebook.com/teambanzai

    and

    http://www.twitter.com/teambanzai

  11. Oh, btw, I don’t want to get deluged with notices that skept-art is friends with Ranson. That’s great, I don’t care. What is skept-art doing/thinking?

    @Sam Ogden: We’re starting momentum! We are going to keep applying pressure until you cave in just to shut us up, join facebook. It may take you 6 months to post something, but that’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get there. I’m http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=lf#!/Infinitemonkey

    My musical diet is high in korn. What can I say, I’m an angry white boy at heart.

  12. I don’t really have accomplishments to showcase. I’m a bit lazy, I’m not a brilliant scientist, I don’t promote skepticism in any structured or all that significant way. And I’m not a big networker making friends wherever I go. So what I’d have left for skepbook is friending all the famous people, posting pics of me next to them, or just of them from the court mandated distance of at least 200 yards, and status messages about them, and commenting on everything _they_ post.
    But I don’t want to be that guy, so I’d just post links to xkcd, and skepchick, and so on and so forth, and try to quietly be me.

    So my status would be something like: “Just backed my photos up to Amazon’s S3 storage in _the cloud_, now to start thinking about digitizing all my old paper and celluloid stuff”

    My favourite TV-shows would be: Psych, Life, Castle, House M.D., Dr Who
    My favourite books would be… well, actually I often forget about my favourite books, but Steven Brust’s To reign in hell is one.

    And… then I’d be off to look through everyone’s photoalbums of things I couldn’t/didn’t attend. Snipping a bit a bit here, and a bit there, trying to make a collage of my perfect skepchick… Um… I mean… gotta go!

  13. @Sam Ogden: Moving is the worst thing civilized humans ever have to do. We could take prisoners of war and make them move poeple. They’d be coughing up their secrets before the first end table was on the truck.

    That IS getting stolen. I’m in the midst of helping my ex-wife move to San Antonio, and agree whole-heartedly.

    As for my details… I’m about to celebrate the 28th anniversary of turning 5, an age to which I cling to, stubbornly. I’m divorced white male pseudo-librarian (all of the work, none of the degree), living in Houston, Texas. I listen to a wide variety of stuff… I will go from gangsta rap to TMBG to country to classical in the case of four songs, and consider it a good mix.

  14. I forgot about Skeptical TV shows! I recently became addicted to Bones and tore through 4 seasons in about 2 weeks (What can I say? My fiancé is in Baltimore. I have a lot of time on my hands). I had initially avoided it because I have an irrational loathing of David Boreanaz, but I love the characters, and I love how it portrays rationality and skepticism (most of the time).

  15. @infinitemonkey: Of course you realize that I’m going to friend request everyone who posts a link to their FB page and right after that, I’m going to your wall to post a comment about how I am now friends with that person.
    You should know better :)

    Edit: TeamBansai and Mark Hall are now friends with James Fox. Dig it.

  16. Skep-status: married to a skep-husband. 2 kids, they’re undecided on skeptical matters so far (they’re only 3 and 5). I am back at uni in my last semester, taking lots of maths and stats and wishing I was better with computers. I am hoping to be a maths/stats teacher but we’ll have to wait and see if I get in.

    I went to high school and uni with @beardofpants so I’d definitely skep-friend her. I’d probably skep-friend anyone from this thread because I feel bad about turning down people’s requests.

    I am not really listening to any skep-music lately. I did just download the mp3 of The Poetry of Reality so I’ve been singing (badly) along to that. I’ve also been trying to determine if Morrisey is an Atheist because of this silly group my friend started on facebook called Angry Depressed Atheists. It’s just for fun! Not serious.

    My skep-status today would be something about how the NZ government is considering allowing private companies to buy 5 state schools. Just like that Simpsons episode.

    I would probably skep-link to my skep-blog, which is embarrasingly new and raw at the moment.

    I probably wouldn’t skep-tag anyone, but I’d skep-comment on your skep-comments. I think I wore that joke down to the ground.

  17. I am not skep everything, although sometimes, I do try to say skeptical things. Mostly, I am about science, especially astronomy (my favorite science), which is the point of my blog. I think educating people about science can make them more “skeptic.” Anyways, out of my whole family, I am probably the only skeptic, my brother somewhat being so. Although I am definitely the only atheist.

    I am ethnically South Korean, but I lived most of my life in Venezuela, and four years ago moved to the US. So I have multicultural experience. I am almost 20, and go to community college trying to get an associate in chem. Which is unfortunate because I would have loved to enter my local university and have a degree in physics.

    Favorite TV show: 24

    Favorite music: pachebel’s canon, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wpPk8qk3uQ

    Favorite videogame: legend of zelda: majora’s mask, mario galaxy 2

  18. Oh, and just like on facebook I’d right now set my status to: Bjørnar Tuftin bought a plastic neti pot, and found an online instruction that says: 3. You need to work up the courage to do the nasty, gross, disgusting part.

    But on skep-book I’d also include a link to the chiropractic website I found it on: http://www.dynamicclinic.com/nasal_lavage.php

    How come there are so many wusses in the world? And how come they think they’re normal?

  19. Hi there!

    I’m Craig. [waves]

    I’m a skeptic and an atheist, but married to a gorgeous and intelligent Catholic girl.

    I am a full-time academic reference librarian at Kean University in lovely lovely Union, NJ.

    My Facebook is: http://www.facebook.com/librarianinreallife and I’m @Libraryguy on Twitter.

    I used to have a blog at http://Jerseyskeptic.wordpress.com, but I just haven’t kept up with it, because I suck. :'(

    Usually you’ll see me commenting on other skeptics’ blogs and FB statuses bitching about how I’m not at TAM or Dragon*Con or whatever other awesome conference they’re at.

    Um … and I’m a Scorpio. [flees]

  20. Ok … I’ll try.

    I’ll do it as if it’s a CV.

    1. EDUCATION/CAREER:

    BS Psychology Penn State. MS Experimental Psychology Villanova.
    DO University New England. Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatric residency Morristown Memorial Hospital , then affiliate of Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. In practice at a coastal beach town town below Portand Maine for 19 years. From time to time I mentor/teach residents, med students , and/or PA students in my office. I have lectured at my med school and I have lectured to my peers as well, sometimes sponsored by BIG PHARMA. Yes, I maintained my integrity. As long as one reads on his own and goes to significant medical conferences, a balanced approach can be maintained, which equals academic intergrity.

    Career trivia: at the age of 16 I made, by hand, signs for Fashion Bug, a woman’s clothing store. Not until a decade letter did I discover what Missy Coordinates 9.99 and up and Peignoirs 19.99 really meant.

    2. RELATIONSHIP: happily married for many handfuls of years. It’s a mixed marriage: she still holds onto some “woo” beliefs. Oh well … love … ain’t it a mystery … that and oxytocin and stuff. My two amazing sons are people that I love and like and I’d give my life to save either or both of them.

    Relationship trivia: my wife can play equal to or better tennis than you. My oldest is as smart or smarter than you. My youngest is as good looking or better looking than you. And I am none of the above. I’m the Munster in a house full of Marilyns.

    3. SKEPTICAL STUFF:

    I found my people , as many of us, through the SGU. Because I am not an atheist, I’ve often felt outside the movement. Upon my return from TAM 8 I posted this on Facebook: “So I was wearing my Skeptic.com t shirt today (it looks cool) and a friend of mine said, “your not a skeptic.” I simply explained that all it means to me is that I form opinions based on evidence and critical thinking and whenever possible, the scientific method. It does not mean that I am no longer a warm and fuzzy ……art loving mushball. I’m just a mushball who prefers magnificent evidence to magical effervescence.”

    This led to a further facebook and tried to define what I am theistically. Here it is:

    “I guess I’m this: I am a cultural Jew because that was how I was raised and I like the connection. I think there is no God that micromanages the world and I simply do not know if there was a supreme force that knocked over the first domino, triggering the big bang, or that permeates the universe today, but I hope there is … because it would be nice. I find no evidence for the former and the latter is essentially unprovable.

    I simply TRY to follow the Golden rule, I TRY to do my best , and I believe that I MUST take responsibility for my own actions and seek no forgiveness for my perceived “sins” from anyone else except for those I’ve effected, if I’ve effected anyone in the first place. I try to pass on the same teachings to my children. If they become hindu, agnostic or druid at some point in time, then that is their path and I shall support them. But I do feel religion is best practiced by an individual, not in an organized group, but as long as that outcomes of that religion does not threaten me, my family, or my community, then to each his own and be happy. ”

    And because of this I sometimes still feel on the outside of the movement looking in, but I’ve been to NECCS twice and TAM twice and when I actually meet and socialize with fellow skeptics, all doubts dissolve. It may not be a perfect fit for me, but it’s the best fit I’ve ever known.

    MISCELLANEOUS: I make silly little videos , often with my youngest son, that make US laugh; some even star PEZ dispensers.

  21. @halincoth
    I don’t think you should feel outside the movement. I am sure there are plenty of people that think like you about religion around this forum. I know I have seen some theist commenters around here. So I think this group is varied enough to take you in, and I am pretty sure the atheists wouldn’t mind. :)

  22. Hmm, lemme see here . . .

    I guess I am a bit like @Bjornar in that I am not really “accomplished” in anything. I did go to UNLV for a few years and majored in Geology only to discover I just wanted to live like a Hobbit, cook and bake all day while living in my own little fantasy world free to draw, paint and write as I please (the fantasy world where hobbits exist apparently :-P) I do work as a receptionist, but that’s something I can completely forget about at the end of the day.

    Used to be pagan and am still a nature fan without the woo — same for the husband — and I LOVE to camp. Mom to the most beautiful little eleven-month old EVER who, to my pure happiness, loves Bauhaus.

    I became a skeptic after listening to the SGU for the first time although I have always been skeptical even when my heart didn’t want to let go of certain things.

    I would love some more skeptic friends because I am a bit shy so I don’t really go to events. I just like to read and repost skeptical material via facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=23700970

    So far I mainly just talk to Skept-artist and Chelsea on occasion.

    Oh, and I am a big fat NERD/GAMER/TREKKIE/VEGAN/BURNER

    I’ll be a DS9 Vulcan science officer at the Trek convention in Las Vegas in a couple weeks.

  23. @Stevie: OK, I had to add you on facebook because I really want to see photos of the Star Trek convention. If I was going I would totally wear the same thing!

    So if you get a random as friend request, it’s me! (I couldn’t write a message for some reason). And I will not be offended if you ignore it.

  24. Skep-bio: I’m on FB, but have no friends (boo hoo :-( )

    Actually, when I first signed up about 6 months ago, the first person it asked me if I wanted to friend was someone I knew from years ago from a computer/technical usenet group, so I said “sure”. In a few days, I started getting loads of teabagger stuff, and also started getting loads of republican fund-raising snail mail. A little while later, I saw a totally off-topic post on a programming mail list from him expressing teabagger nonsense as if it were established fact, and put 2 and 2 together and unfriended him. The email stopped, but I still get the snail mail… So once burned, twice shy and I haven’t friended anyone else since.

    So no one here should feel insulted that I haven’t asked to be to be their friend.

    I’ll probably get around to it eventually, right after I make up an avatar (is that what it’s called, one of those little pictures that appears with all someone’s posts?) I’m thinking, since I’m his evil twin, a picture of Buzz Lightyear, but with facial hair to indicate I’m evil.

    Back from digression. I’m old enough to have campaigned for JFK, but am in denial. (Walked around my neighborhood with my best friend Elaine and a home-made “Vote for Kennedy” sign… BTW, Mark Hall, she’s also a librarian in Houston…) So I’m rapidly closing in on the end of my teens, at least socially, emotionally and intellectually.

    Been a skeptic since encountering my first biblical hero, Doubting Thomas, at age 6 or 7. Of course, I thought, why wouldn’t someone test something so obviously improbable, given the chance? Started reading Isaac Asimov at about 10 or 11, graduating to the Skeptical Inquirer back when it was still small, thick and quarterly.

    Been following Bad Astronomy for a long long time (pre-blog, must have been 7 or 8 years now.)

    Been attending local skeptics events for about a year. We have drinking and reading, and I’m not a big joiner, but am gradually getting to know some people. They all seem smart, friendly, geeky (a good thing), and have even laughed at some of my jokes once or twice.

  25. Hmm… I tried editing that last comment to make it a little less incoherent, but the “edit” box suddenly vanished and the original unedited comment reappeared. Maybe I’m just moving much too slow.

  26. Let’s see… I’m a bit of a wild child – wild as in free, as in untamed, true to my nature. I am owned by three gorgeous cats (pics on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/gwenwifar/sets/72157620956510176/ ) and I’m a menace with a camera, though I prefer film to digital. Lately I’ve been messing around with the digital more, mostly for experimenting, as I can see results right away and no film is wasted. But if I’m really trying for a great shot I reach for film. I dread the day I won’t be able to get and develop film. If i had the time and the extra pocket change, I’d take a class and buy the equipment and develop my own pictures.

    I love art for its insight into human nature and all the imponderables. The impressionists are my favorites. I’m a book slut, and will read anything. A look through my shelves will reveal Shakespeare, Dickens and Douglas Adams rubbing elbows with the latest trashy novel, and non-fcition ranging from “Misquoting Jesus” to a biography of Lady Jane Grey. In my defense, I never keep the trashy novels once i’ve read them. I don’t keep a lot of books – I’m a bookcrosser and believe books I can live without are for sharing and setting free. But I still have hundreds of books I haven’t read, and a few thousand children’s books I’ll never set free.

    Sometimes I feel like that quote from Whitman “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes”. I am a skeptic because I have to be – it is in my nature to be free in the way that matters most, in my mind, and only through skepticism can a mind be free. But at the same time I believe there are moments and situations where skepticism has no place. I believe in Santa, and in my own gut feelings, against all reason. I am a complete sucker, who would rather be taken advantage of than refuse help where I can give it. I am emotionally and psychologically as self-sufficient as anyone can be. I feel intensely, but I have an uncanny way of amputating feelings that become a threat to my sanity or my freedom. Sometimes I wonder how true feelings that just turn off really are, and I wish I knew the feeling that I need someone, deep down in my soul. That there is a feeling out there that is larger than self-preservation. Probably this unhealthy longing can be chalked up to too many great love stories, of the trashy as well as classic and great literature varieties. I come about last on my own list of priorities. I am a teacher, and am crazy about children. They’re usually crazy about me too, so it works out. I’d rather hang out with the kids at any gathering than any grown-up you can name. I have no tolerance for those who deliberately hurt children.

    I hate Hemingway, people who try to make my mind up for me, and prejudice in all its forms, though as a human being I’m aware of the fact that I’m not immune to it.

    I hate the phrase “life isn’t fair” and all its variants, not because it’s not true, but because it is usually used dismissively, as in, since life is not fair, why should i bother being fair when it’s not convenient for me. I consider it my responsibility to give more than I take, and I take my responsibilities seriously.

    I love life, nature, and myself, mostly because growing up I needed something to love, and someone to love me.

  27. I was born at an early age and grew up quickly, at a rate of 1 second per second. I eat ethically, only consuming material derived from free-range stars. I practice blind faith in things which have been scientifically proven, specifically to annoy Richard Dawkins.

    I’m reluctant to trust facebook or twitter, though I do firmly believe that an open mind and a trusting nature are excellent qualities for other people to have.

  28. Alright.

    My name is Joe Harbison, as my ever-so-creative screenname might suggest. I was born 23 years ago on Friday the 13th (and my mom was born on Halloween, which makes me wish I was superstitious). I live in Lexington, KY, which isn’t the most fun place in the world.

    As far as my interests and activities – I read too much. My favorite authors are Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, and Don DeLillo. My favorite bands are The Mountain Goats, Brainiac, Tin Hat Trio, and Future of the Left. I watch a ton of animation. I’m a barista and talent buyer/promoter for a local coffee shop. I do some audio engineering on the side, but mostly for anarcho-punks who get arrested a lot.

    Most of my time is taken up by playing music/touring/etc. I’m in five bands, and I also write and play by myself. Since music is pretty much my whole life, that’s all I’m going to talk about. Yeah self-promotion!

    – The Ford Theatre Reunion
    FTR is half circus/half band. We have an 8-piece musical ensemble that plays an odd mixture of klezmer, funk, punk, jazz, and plain old circus music. The sideshow we perform with varies from show to show, but usually includes fire performance, burlesque, torture acts, and a traditional Punch and Judy show. We have a kazoo orchestra and a mustache brigade. My responsibilities in this group are banjo/guitar/ukelele/vocals, as well as blockheading, mentalism, “strong-man” acts, emceeing, and puppet-building/manipulating. Here are a couple of videos of us:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_4dhDUAxao

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV8W6OLecNk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-HjpeB16hI

    – Tense Kids
    Tense Kids is just me and my lovely, also-skeptical girlfriend Alex. We play sugary pop music. We played at Skepchicamp! Right now we’re working on an album about famous disasters and planning a tour so we can visit aquariums we want to see. Here’s our myspace: http://www.myspace.com/tensekids

    – The Oxford Farm Report
    the OFR is a band that I’ve been in since high school. We play really, really, really loud music. Really loud. Like, a sound guy told us once that our stage volume was 125 dB. It’s complicated, noisy stuff. People compare us to the Mars Volta, but I don’t really like that band. We’re at: http://www.myspace.com/theoxfordfarmreport

    – Big To_
    Big To_ is musical terrorism. Somewhere between dance music, dada, and pterodactyls. We don’t book shows, we just steal stages from other musicians and get kicked out of places. Here’s a video of us:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJnn-wMPU9w

    – Working Families Party of Oregon
    WFPO is a brand new project I just started. It is made of people from all over the country. One person writes a song, sends a recording to the next person who adds to that song and sends it to the next person, and so on until it arrives back where it started. If anyone here plays music and wants to be involved, let me know!

    – My solo stuff is here: http://www.myspace.com/joeharbison

    That’s all for me. That’s what I do. After typing all of that, I suddenly feel really egotistical and narcissistic. Oh, well.

    Lastly, here is my facebook if any of ya’ll care: http://www.facebook.com/thebombislove

  29. Name is Andrew Nixon, born on 31st August 1979, two weeks late, the family joke being that I was lazy even before I was born.

    Live in Huddersfield in England but born and brought up in a small town called Clitheroe. I work at a local college in the exams office.

    Outside skepticism, my main love (apart from my wife of course!) is the sport of cricket. I don’t play anymore (and even when I did I was crap) but write about the sport in the minor cricket playing nations (my most recent article was a match report on the Canadian national team, and I’ve written the odd bit on the game in the USA) for a website called CricketEurope. (www.cricketeurope.com if you’re at all interested) I’d love that to be my main job, but at the moment I only get a few hundred quid a year from it, so it doesn’t exactly pay the bills. I may write a book someday, but not sure on exactly what.

    I went to university for a couple of years, dropping out of the first year of two different courses, and am now doing a Maths/Statistics degree with the Open University, which all being well I’ll complete in 2013.

    TV wise, I’m a bit of a Star Trek nerd, though I’m not all that big a fan of the original series. I’ve recently re-watched all the films on Blu-ray and with the original cast films enjoyed the difference between the 1970s vision of the 23rd century and the 1990s vision of the 23rd century. I’m also a fan of Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, The X-Files, Jonathan Creek, amongst many others.

    Music wise, I tend to go in for older music a lot, especially Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the Beach Boys, but I do listen to some newer stuff too, having a particular affinity for Eels.

    I read a lot, and get annoyed that I tend to read things rather quickly. I’m currently reading a very interesting biography of Hugh Everett III, the guy who came up with the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (and is also the father of the singer from the aforementioned Eels). The science is a bit heavy, but his rather interesting life outside of quantum theory makes the biography very entertaining.

    My skept-status right now would be “glad to be off work and away from my woo believing colleagues”.

    All I can think off for now, but you can always look at my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/andrewnixon1979

  30. @gwenwifar:

    Okay. Maybe because it’s early and I haven’t had my coffee, but you got me. I’ve got to give you a COTW nom. Especially this part:

    Sometimes I feel like that quote from Whitman “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes”. I am a skeptic because I have to be – it is in my nature to be free in the way that matters most, in my mind, and only through skepticism can a mind be free. But at the same time I believe there are moments and situations where skepticism has no place. I believe in Santa, and in my own gut feelings, against all reason. I am a complete sucker, who would rather be taken advantage of than refuse help where I can give it. I am emotionally and psychologically as self-sufficient as anyone can be. I feel intensely, but I have an uncanny way of amputating feelings that become a threat to my sanity or my freedom. Sometimes I wonder how true feelings that just turn off really are, and I wish I knew the feeling that I need someone, deep down in my soul. That there is a feeling out there that is larger than self-preservation. Probably this unhealthy longing can be chalked up to too many great love stories, of the trashy as well as classic and great literature varieties. I come about last on my own list of priorities. I am a teacher, and am crazy about children. They’re usually crazy about me too, so it works out. I’d rather hang out with the kids at any gathering than any grown-up you can name. I have no tolerance for those who deliberately hurt children.

    I hate Hemingway, people who try to make my mind up for me, and prejudice in all its forms, though as a human being I’m aware of the fact that I’m not immune to it.

    I hate the phrase “life isn’t fair” and all its variants, not because it’s not true, but because it is usually used dismissively, as in, since life is not fair, why should i bother being fair when it’s not convenient for me. I consider it my responsibility to give more than I take, and I take my responsibilities seriously.

    I love life, nature, and myself, mostly because growing up I needed something to love, and someone to love me.

  31. I’m Faith – I was saddled with this ridiculous name because my grandmother wouldn’t let my mom name me what she wanted to… FML (which is actually my initials). But I digress. I have been married for 10 years to a skeptic who is also an atheist but more of an atheist than a skeptic. He tends to believe what he hears until I bring up some fallacies in logic and then he tells me that I’m the smartest person he knows and then I decide to stay married to him for another year.

    I work in HIV research at a very large university and post snarky things on my door. I think my co-workers humor me. Not sure about that yet.

    I love to bake. I’d spend all of my time baking for people because cookies = love. Really. I can show my math if you want.

    I think science is awesome and I know how magnets work.

  32. I’m 41 and still have to hide in the atheist closet most of the time. I’m safe being publicly skeptical though, as long as I’m not skeptical about certain topics. I live Alabama, and I’m very introverted. Maybe that’s why I only know three other atheists personally. It’s definitely why I’d be lost without the internet.

    I almost have degrees in biology and chemistry. I take pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ariyeh/
    I’m married, and we’re edging slowly toward the modern homesteading lifestyle. (He’s a hermit, too.)

    I’m unemployed, so I spend way too much time playing silly games on Facebook:
    http://www.facebook.com/ariyeh
    It’s sad, but my atheist friends and I can’t even be ourselves on Facebook: the repercussions from families and co-workers just wouldn’t be worth it.

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