For the past few years, the night before Dragon*Con in Atlanta officially starts, Maria Walters and the Atlanta Skeptics have held a wonderful star party to help raise money in honor of Jeff Medkeff, an astronomer and friend who died of liver cancer. Jeff hunted for asteroids, naming several after friends, including me. He was a good, good man.
That’s why the star party is in his honor, and every year it gets better.
If there’s a better way to get into the swing of things for Dragon*Con, I don’t know what it is. And the con itself will be awesome, too, of course.
Come! Star gaze! And help fight a disease that took a friend and scientist who saw a much bigger Universe than most of us ever have.
If you’ll be in the Atlanta area on September 2 — the night before Dragon*Con — then I strongly urge you to attend the Second Annual Atlanta Skeptics Star Party. This is a charity event to raise money for the
American Cancer Society Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in memory and honor of our friend Jeff Medkeff, an astronomer who died of liver cancer two years ago. Jeff was a good man, naming asteroids after noted skeptics, and did a lot of work to promote critical thinking.
Last year’s event was fantastic: there was a full house of people listening to short talks by Pamela Gay and me, and then migrating outside to view the heavens. This year, the speakers include Fraser Cain (from the newly remodeled Universe Today), Pamela once again, and musician George Hrab (who made a typically over-the-top cool promo for it).
I won’t be there this year — months of travel for my TV show have made me long to be home for more than a week at a time — but I hope some BABloggees will be able to attend. And don’t forget: Surly Amy and I have teamed up to raise money for the event as well. It’s a great night, a fun time, and a way to help us all kick cancer’s butt.
If you ever read Skepchick, you already know of Surly Amy: skeptic, artist, photographer, and all around cool chick. I’m glad to have her as a friend.
She also creates wonderful critical thinking jewelry she calls Surlyramics. These are ceramic necklaces and other accouterments with skeptical, scientific, and critical thinking phrases and drawings on them. They’re very cool, and wildly popular at meetings I’ve been to.
She and I have teamed up to create a limited edition Surlyramics Bad Astronomy pendant necklace. Each one is hand-formed and painted, and only 200 will be made. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.
The reason we’re doing this is that when you order a Bad Astronomy Surly necklace for $20, half of that will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Our goal is to raise $2000 in honor of my friend Jeff Medkeff, an astronomer and really nice guy — he’s the one who named an asteroid after me, as well as others for other skeptics and scientists. Jeff succumbed to cancer in 2008, and this is our way of letting people know about the good work he did and that his legacy lives on.
We’re trying to raise as much money as we can so that we can announce the total at Dragon*Con in Atlanta this year, which is September 2. These necklaces are honestly really cool — Mrs. BA loves hers — and when you buy one you’re doing a Good Thing. Also, if your order totals more than $50 you get free shipping. Details on how to order are at her site; click a pendant to find out more.
[Note: Amy is making them as this gets posted; if the site says sold out don't fret! She'll be making more and getting them online after TAM 8 finishes on July 12.]
So show off your love of astronomy (bad or otherwise), look cool doing it, and know that you’re helping medical researchers fight cancer. Thanks.