Hello skeptical pals! I am ever so pleased to bring you yet another edition of Get to Know Your Skepchicks featuring one of the gals you love waking up to in the morning to get your quickie fix. That’s right, it’s the beautiful and ever so intelligent and talented, Jen!
I had a wonderful time taking glamour shots and getting to know Jen better. She is smart, talented and ever so charming. I have asked her some questions to help you get to know her better. Enjoy!
1. What first got you interested in skepticism?
I swear this is the truth and not just a nice-sounding answer – it was reading the early Skepchick zine and blog. While I flatter myself I always had a rational mind bent, I tended to consider most skeptical topics with a “what’s the harm?” attitude and I didn’t make it a habit of thinking critically about things in my own life. Rebecca’s entertaining writing drew me in. I’ve learned the majority of my still-tender skeptic knowledge on duty here at Skepchick.
2. How much time do you set aside for a quickie each morning?
Well, I’m fortunate to get so much inspiring material sent in by our wonderful readers that it usually doesn’t take very long. Ten minutes, tops. It’s helpful that Amanda does half of the work, too.
3. On Skepchick island who would you recommend for the tech position? (We will need someone to update our website and film our webcasts etc. and you will be busy drinking margaritas.)
There’s actually quite a few accomplished tech people I know in the skeptic community, so this would be difficult. I’d have to schedule some interviews. If necessary, I can update websites and drink margaritas at once. It’s been scientifically proven.
4. Name a skeptic who has influenced you in a positive way and why?
My favorite professional skeptic is Neil deGrasse Tyson. I love his genuine enthusiasm for learning and curiosity. He’s a great example of how skeptics and nonbelievers aren’t cold, emotionless and/or gloomy, but humorous, optimistic and passionate about the world around them.
5. The bad news: You have to give up all but one of these things: coffee, hottubbing, drunk dialing or whipped cream. Which is it?
The good news: You can pick any one person to share the remaining item with. (seriously anyone) Who is it?
Oh, man. My heart says life would be so empty without Elyse and drunk dialing, but, for the good of humanity, I better keep coffee. I’m nicer and more entertaining caffeinated. Elyse can still share it with me, though!
6. What one skeptical topic do you wish there was evidence for?
I really wish more alternative medicine worked. it seems so much more fun.
7. What have you found is a good technique for encouraging skepticism and or scientific literacy in children?
I think one of the best techniques is to do is nothing. Children are naturally curious. Put them in front of learning opportunities and step back. This is actually harder than it sounds, because often you want to just tell them the answers, or just do an experiment for them, or stop them from making a mess or noise. But watching kids learn how to reason and discover for themselves is one of the most amazing things you can experience.
8. What skeptical podcasts do you listen to?
SGU, The Amateur Scientist, NPR’s Science Friday and a few others. I also like Sasha’s Den of Iniquity podcast, which is about cocktails but has a skeptic twist.
9. The phone rings, it’s Kirk Cameron. He says he is having a potluck birthday party for Ray Comfort and you’re invited! What dish do you prepare and what do you write on Ray’s birthday card?
I don’t really cook, so I’ll probably just pick up a bunch of bananas. I’ll be nice and bring a birthday card, but first I’ll tear out the message on the front and replace it with a special introduction about how birthdays are an idolatrous pastime.
10. If you could pick one book for required reading in all high schools, what book would you choose?
Very hard to say. I am and have always been a rabid reader, but as soon as someone required that I read something, I immediately rebelled. Even if it was a good book – I’d just read it later, on my own. I honestly think that a student truly enjoying reading is more important than the particular book, so I’d leave it open. Except maybe I’d ban Twilight.
A special thank you to Jen for letting me chase her around with a camera and for anwering my questions. Thank you as always to my partner in crime, Elyse for her mystery question contribution and until next time, I hope you all enjoyed this edition of Get to Know Your Skepchicks!