Tag Archives: crowdfunding

Morning Toolbox – October 22, 2012 – Monday miscellany

Morning Toolbox is a daily digest of interesting tools and techniques that skeptics can use online.

Google has upgraded their Ngrams book search tool to 2.0. It now supports more languages, millions more books and several new advanced search options. (For instance, you can specify whether you are searching for a verb or a noun and so on). I’ve mentioned before it as a useful tool for skeptic research on historical trends.

Read on for more about online skeptic tools…

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Morning Toolbox – October 19, 2012 – Charts, Twitter, Robocalls and more

Morning Toolbox is a daily digest of interesting tools and techniques that skeptics can use online.

I’ve talked about fake online reviews on Virtual Skeptics once or twice. Yelp is trying to clamp down on this, they are putting red ‘consumer alert’ banners on businesses they detect doing it. Here’s a project for skeptics: scan the site for pseudoscience and paranormal businesses that have earned one of these.

Read on for more about online skeptic tools…

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Morning Toolbox – October 2, 2012 – Politics is Unavoidable

To force myself to write more, and because I much enjoy the daily posts at Research Buzz and CFI’s Morning Heresy, I thought I would start doing a daily post of news about tools and technologies of interest to skeptics. This will be a daily digest of interesting tools and techniques that have come to light recently.

In the US the Presidential election is dominating all the news. Much has been written about media bias in news sources. Do you limit yourself to sources that agree with your existing political opinions? A new Chrome browser plugin called Balancer might help you break out of your bubble. It was created by a University of Washington researcher Sean Munson.

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New Projects Put Up Cash for Truth – Good Thinking Society and Truth Market

Despite repeated protestations of “Big Pharma shill!” from alternative medicine proponents, there never seems to be much money in skepticism. Most skeptic projects are done as hobbies by individuals. When money is needed for certain projects we tend to have fundraisers or do some begging. Even our national non-profit umbrella organizations have fairly small budgets as these things go.

As an example of that, the team behind The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, probably the top skeptic podcast with over 100,000 listeners in a given week, recently needed to use a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter to assemble the budget for new series of videos they wanted to produce. They were quite successful, reaching almost twice their original goal by the end of the campaign.

Crowdfunding is one of several new methods I recommend to skeptics looking to fund new projects.  I have written about other techniques to fund projects here at the blog as well.

This month two new potential sources of cash for skeptics and skeptic projects have appeared.  One is an old-fashioned non-profit that is offering small grants. The other is a unique new twist that combines elements of crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and competitive prizes.

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#TAM2012 Skeptic Crowdsourcing Workshop links

The Amazing Meeting 2012 is underway as I type this. Yesterday I led a workshop called The Future of Skepticism Online: Crowd-sourced Activism. I talked about many of the topics you’ve seen here on this blog, such as Web of Trust, Wikipedia and so on.

Slides and video from that workshop will be posted sometime soon, but for folks who were attending, here are all the links that were mentioned during the workshop.

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A Lesson from Neil Denny: Outside Funding for Skeptic Projects

British Airways jet landing at LCY by Senseiich, distributed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

My “Wishlist Wednesday” posts are all about finding interesting new ideas on which to base a skeptic project. But sometimes it isn’t the idea you need, it’s the means to execute on it. Many impediments can arise including access to people or places, lack of materials or equipment, or simply lack of time.

Starting today Neil Denny (host of the excellent Little Atoms skeptic podcast) is beginning a month-long road trip across America. His goal is to discover (as he explains in his excellent Guardian article introducting the project) how rational is America?  My question is: how can he afford to take a month off and do this?

The answer to that is something other skeptics can learn from, a great example of cleverly figuring out a way to execute on an ambitious skeptic idea.

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