Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Skepchick Island is hiring

As most of you know, I have big plans to one day buy an island for the Skepchicks. We’ll all live together on this island, doing Skepchicky things like flying around the world to fight woo and talking anthropology in the hot tub.

Aside from the obvious residents, I’ve picked out a couple of pediatricians (Dr. Jennifer from the Chicago skeptics and Dr Joe Albietz of General Awesomeness Hospital in Colorado) to join us on the island as well as our pilot (Joe Anderson). There’s more positions to be filled for sure! I haven’t even picked a bartender!

To run and live on our private island, what kind of help will we need? Who should we hire?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) be a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. You’ll need a cool IT person. And since the Mac is the computer of choice among skeptics, I just so happen to be Apple certified and have over 10 years experience with them, mostly exclusively. :)

  2. You already have a pilot? Darn it!

    Unless it’s right next door to a metro area, then you’ll definitely need somebody with mechanical (engine) skills.

    And definitely an electrician.

    Somebody who can sew and make clothes–design clothes would be even better, although that may be a different person.

    Some people to chop and split wood.

  3. You’ll need plenty of children to work the mines. That is, unless the island has an indigenous population, in which case you can use them.

    I am a Hedge

  4. As you all know, its the administrative assistants who keep everything going. I can make sure that Elyse’s bar time doesn’t interfere with Jen’s sun-bathing time, which doesn’t interfere with Sam’s skinny dipping time…

    If that doesn’t work, then, someone’s going have to serve you your drinks. I don’t think you would want to get up every time you wanted a new Buzzed Aldrin or Burden of 80 proof, so, you’ll need a server in addition to the bar tender.

    And if that doesn’t work, how about just a token gay man. Someone to vent to Stacey steals Tracey’s man, or A and Masala get into a tiff over who’s the hotter skeptic. You know, that gay gal pall every woman needs.

  5. I’ve accumulated a number of skills over the years: electronic engineering, computer programming, data analysis, electrical wiring, plumbing, photoshoppery, bodging, pool cleaning, cheese cake baking, fried chicken making, iced tea brewing, diaper changing, booboo fixing, bedtime story reading, paper airplane folding… The list goes on and on.

  6. Perhaps I can serve as the village idiot? ;-) I can train and handle animals, too. Not sure about Jeebus’s dinosaur, though.

    @marilove: interbuts? I don’t think I want to go there.

  7. Well it’s looks like almost everything I’m good at is already taken.

    How about someone to polish your grapes?

    @Elxina: Blue footed, Red footed or Masked?

  8. Did someone say bookstore? Or, even better, boutique publishing house producing limited edition, beautifully bound copies of the greatest works of science and skepticism.

    The pricier books would fund the inexpensively produced nearly-give-them-away department that would strive to get these works into libraries, schools and broke seekers of truth.

    Because they are inexpensively produced we could also make fun little volumes like Lancaster’s Guide to Psychics orMusings of the Skepchicks. Since being published was a given, writing could be a hobby on the island.

    Alternately, I can cat wrangle.

  9. I think my housemates & I could be useful: one MBA w/office admin & code-monkey wrangling experience, one artist/illustrator/pilot, one Mac network wrangler & graphics production geek. We also cook, clean, make coffee, tea, and cordials. (You know, once they retire Fermilab, selectively flooding the inside of the ring would make a really nice lake w/an island… plus, you know, *particle beams*.)

  10. Since the fundies will attack relentlessly, you’ll need someone to keep us safe. Like me, I am a CISSP — I can keep those Mac and Windows admins in line with the countermeasures we’ll need.

  11. @Outsider: 15 years of Mac IT experience, former Apple employee, and current certified tech employed full time in repairs and maintenance. I’d say between the two of us we can build one hell of a cool setup for the geekosphere. :)

    @Peregrine: The Linux boxes can be called real, and I’d welcome them, but Windows can’t even zip a file without third party help. And Malware? Don’t get me started! :p

    [/obligatory Mac/PC flame]

  12. There seems to be two questions here. 1), which I chose to answer the first time, was what skill set needs to be hired for the island. 2), which isn’t what was asked but most people are assuming, is “why should we hire you, the commenter, for the island”. Since everyone else is answering question 2, I will too.

    I can be the sci-fi librarian; I will bring the library myself.

    Sounds like pilot is covered. I can back them up, plus I’ll maintain anything aviation-related on the island (landing strip, maintainence facilities).

    I can set up and maintain the home-theater setups of the denizens of the island.

    I give reasonable back/shoulder/neckrubs.

    Any physics that needs to be done, I’m on it. And differential equations.

    I like to argue–most any type of topic, either side.

  13. The bad news is that I don’t have an exciting job like Sandwich Artist. The good news is that I am essential.

    You will need someone to coordinate the supply chain and purchasing; otherwise your bartender would have nothing to pour, your sandwiches would be wish sandwiches, and your IT administrator would be making a phone system out of coconuts.

    I can also train camels, mow lawns, and qualified as expert with rifle and grenade when I was in the army (you know…just in case…)

  14. I’ve got to say, this Skepchick Island thing is sounding really reasonable. It’s possible that it’s only because I’m working on 4 hours sleep but really, it sounds reasonable.

    Does anyone know of any uninhabited islands we might be able to settle?

    BTW – durnett – I’ll need a couple hundred pounds of flour, sugar and butter just to start. Thx.

  15. You will need some art on those walls. Luckily, I have a BFA in illustration and work in a realistic fashion. I will paint portraits of all the Skepchicks to line the walls. The question is, should they be done in an academic, ‘former heads of state’ manner or ‘Saddam’s palace, wrestling sharks with laser beams’ manner?
    I can also run an espresso machine like nobody’s business.

  16. @Zapski: “Windows can’t even zip a file without third party help. ”

    It can starting at Windows XP. Right-click > Send To > Compressed (zipped) Folder. I concur with your overall assessment, though!

  17. Personally I prefer the idea of underwater base to an island. The downside would be having to go through decompression every time you wanted to go to the surface though.

    But like Marilove said, you will need a library and bookstore. Which means you will also need a librarian. I happen to be on the path towards becoming a librarian and happily volunteer my services. And by “volunteer” i mean “offer in exchange for food, shelter and cash”.

  18. @faith: “I’ve got to say, this Skepchick Island thing is sounding really reasonable.”

    We still need a stable revenue stream. Even if the island is only a ferry ride from the mainland, the transportation costs will exceed line item 7: Revenue From Blogging.

    Somehow, I don’t think that Skepchick Pledge Week will go over well.

  19. I believe the Easter Islanders will back me up when I say that no island is complete without a lumberjack.
    I look good in both flannel and womens clothing.

  20. I’d gladly volunteer to be roving security/grounds maintenance. With all that unrepentant hedonism going on, you are going to need someone to keep an eye out for militant fundies. Also would help with any folk who get lost/injured in the wilds (this is going to be a rather large island, correct?) I wouldn’t need much in return either, just permission to live of the land in the more wilderness-y sections of the island, and maybe some occasional supplies and equipment.

    Would also volunteer to work as limited ferry operator (rowboat? eh, I’m flexible) so long as it didn’t interfere with security patrols and such.

    Think about it… little to no cost for the island, you get some security that mostly stays out of sight and out of mind, and I get to get away from all the stuff in society I dislike; win-win situation. :)

  21. @ryk:
    “you are going to need someone to keep an eye out for militant fundies.”

    What part of ISLAND is unclear to you? :-D Definitely need security from predatory animals, jellyfish and the like. They blend invisibly into the jungle.

  22. If the island doesn’t already come with it’s own Skepchick Villa, you’re going to need a land surveyor, a civil engineer and an architect. Luckily, I happen to be a surveyor and an engineer. We can probably get by without an architect; they just mostly get in the way anyway.

  23. @craig

    “What part of ISLAND is unclear to you? :-D ”

    Granted, I’m hoping there won’t be a need for security, but it’s one of those things that’s better to have and not need, then to need and not have. (and I have no intentions of infringing on rights or freedoms or anything, I’m pretty live and let-live, -I’d just like to help prevent malicious types from causing trouble).

    And, ‘sides, even Jesus was on a boat (I think? I got kicked out of Sunday School a lot…) so I think it is quite possible that some determined militant fundy may gain access to the island.

    But, I would be more then willing to serve as gamekeeper as well, and help keep the more dangerous critters away from the people-part of the island. (In as much of an ecological and humane manner as possible) Or build fences. Or whatever, so long as I’m allowed to hangout in the uninhabited parts.

  24. Okay, here’s my full “people to take with me to a desert island” list:
    1. Les Stroud
    2. Barbara Kingsolver
    3. Neil Degrasse Tyson
    4. Michael Pollan
    5. Phil Plait
    6. PZ Myers
    7. George Hrab
    8. Kari Byron
    9. hot woo-free nurse/ doctor person who can practice medicine while wearing sexy nurse outfits (because I’m really just a big perv)

  25. You need someone (me) to keep the books, reconcile the bank statements, prepare a tax return for the island, I am assuming a 1065 as I am sure the island will be a partnership and not a corporation but I can handle 1120 or 1120s also. Also everyone will need to file personal returns. Finally you need me to track all of the investments that keep the income stream coming in to pay for all the bartenders, masueses, fashonistas, pilots and the gallons of lube. I’ll need check writing authority.

  26. Patri Friedman of the Seasteading Institute would be good to have if you can get him. After all, he’s already thinking about small autonomous countries.

    You don’t need an economist / statistician / mathematician by any chance do you? I do work as a government policy analyst and you probably need someone to advise on policy decisions, right?

  27. Over six years bartending experience, even more as a barista, and I can eat fire.

    I’d hire me. (Jus’ sayin’.)

    @durnett: I value good distributors. We need to talk, this bar must be unrivaled…and I need not-coconut intarwebs.

  28. I think who you need and for how long would mostly depend on the level of luxury you’re aiming for.

    I’d say you’ll at least need a whole lot of reliable contruction workers/engineers to build your structures. The kind who can keep the island’s location a secret.
    As for an architect, I know someone who might need that job in a couple of months …

  29. @Elexina: “Hello-o-o-o-o Nurse!” ;-)

    I also volunteer for security. I shoot quite well. Once the existence of “Skepchick Island” becomes known, I expect attempted invasions by various “missionaries” (aka jealous people) and possibly hostile governments. Some people just won’t leave us alone – hence the TOW missiles, miniguns, etc. ;-)

  30. @QuestionAuthority:

    “hence the TOW missiles, miniguns”

    Let’s stick to more conventional armaments, shall we?

    TOW missles are basically helicopter launched anti-tank missles. While I’m all for having various ferry aircraft, I think having the island packing military assault craft is a little excessive, and costly.

    Yeah, and as far as the mini-gun…you know there’s like half a dozen of them in the world, right? And they’re only vehicle mounted? And they shoot vast quantities of ammunition?

    I think let’s mostly stick to weapons that people can carry. Maybe a 50-caliber machine gun or two in the central island building, to hold off invaders while everyone evacuates and sets the self-destruct.

    Remember–we’re trying to take over the world via intelligence and competence, not miltary force.

  31. @Craig

    Actually, there is a fairly common form of the TOW missile used by the infantry. Although, I think they were getting replaced by the javelins a few years back.

  32. Good evening,

    I’d like to be your new Luxury Spirits Advisor. I’ve spent over a decade drinking fine luxury spirits, and would like to impart the benefit of my experience to you.

    Most of these have been whiskies – Scotch single malts, to be accurate. (My personal selection has accrued to over 200 bottlings, and will be at your disposal.)

    But I appreciate that personal tastes can make spirits like whisky a divisive topic, so I’m also happy to advise you on Armagnac (which is in my experience much better than Cognac), Calvados, rum, vodka, and other spirits. I can even advise you on a port, if that would please you.

    I’m afraid I must be honest and say that whilst I can help you with some fortified wines, you’ll need a separate wine advisor. I know spirits only – but I promise to work with the wine advisor to avoid clashes and keep your palette invigorated and excited each day.

    To distract yourselves occasionally, I can organise tastings. I have good experience at this, including themed tastings. I can teach you to taste spirits, and help you get the most out of what you have in the glass.
    And I can help you match your spirits to foodstuffs, such as high quality chocolates, which when combined will give you intense flavours that I guarantee will satisfy.

    (And I’ll teach the wine advisor & bar staff some decent matchings, if required.)

    Of course, the astute will notice I said flavour. I do this with a British accent, I’m afraid. I can’t change that, as I’ve spent more time researching luxury spirits than I have in voice coaching. Please accept my apologies in advance.

    (I’m afraid you may also have to put up with some small amount of innuendo, as it is one of our national pastimes and old habits die hard…)

    I can of course provide character references who will show that I can hold my alcohol and still remain polite, coherent, amusing, and appropriately flirtatious when required.

    I hope you can find a position for me on your Island of Rationality.

    Here’s to your good health, and to the many knee-trembling flavour sensations you have yet to succumb to…

    Philip Storry

    (P.S. If you don’t need a Luxury Spirits Advisor, I can also be your Luxury Chocolates Advisor – should you have such a position open.)

  33. @ryk

    “Actually, there is a fairly common form of the TOW missile used by the infantry.”

    Oh, right; I’d forgotten that. Point taken. Hmm…

    Ok, how about this. Let’s keep the defense forces to small arms. However, for the gee-wiz factor, let’s have a firing range for heavy ordinance. It’ll be good for people dealing with the outside non-utopian world to have a place to vent their frustrations.

    I think TOW missles and mini-guns could factor into that very well.

  34. @craig

    yeah, I pretty much agree with you. Personally, I’m not interested in carrying much more then a decent rifle – that other stuff can get pretty heavy, and that’s before you start taking ammo into consideration ;)

    Plus, until the island gets some sort of revenue, the cost of ammo for mini-guns and TOWs and whatnot would get prohibitive real quick.

    The general idea I was thinking of was just using my knowledge of the island combined with frequent patrolling to ward off the occasional armed and malicious intruder. Not that I would expect many, but, well, you never can tell, some of them religious folk can be downright crazy at times…

  35. Don’t forget to buy an island closest to the equator. Apart from making the atmosphere more comfortable for rum drinks and mojito’s, the closer to the equator, the easier it is to launch rockets to reach orbit.

    And of course we’re GOING to have to build an orbiting vacation pad (for those days when you need a break from all that hedonistic blasphemy)

  36. @ryk:

    The skepchick island should be able to defend itself with critical thinking, Logic and Science. Of course, if you guys really want weapons, I would go with bears, after all they are Skepchick approved Weapons of Face Murderin’ (TM).
    Then maybe some deep pits surrounded by scientific solid evidence (the woo sellers will just ignore them and fall right in… very cheap ;-)

  37. @devcat:

    Well, I would be more then happy to do the pit-digging and bear-supervising, so long as I get to go live in the woods/jungle/tundra/whatever passes for wilderness on the skepchick island.

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