The Camp Quest Challenge: Time for a Rematch

Earlier this week, the blogger Emily Dietle (Emily Has Books) put out an appeal on behalf of one of her guest authors, Christi, who's a student on a limited income but wanted to join the Freedom from Religion Foundation:

College student & blossoming blogger, @hypochristi, would like to join @FFRF. Want to help make this happen? Only $25 needed.

— Emily Dietle (@emilyhasbooks) July 10, 2012

This was opportune because of this article I just read about the relationship of happiness to income. Having more money does make you happier at first, because it removes the stress of uncertainty about providing for basic needs. But above a certain threshold, which studies have determined is around $75,000 in the U.S., there's a point of rapidly diminishing returns. Making more money above and beyond that has little additional effect on happiness. Instead, what makes you happier is giving money away.

I don't intend to say exactly how much I make, but let's put it this way: it's more than that. And anecdotally, I've found that this result is absolutely true; it does feel better to donate money than to accumulate it. Besides which, I've just returned from a convention where I saw firsthand the amazing work that secular students are doing, both in community-building and activism, often on shoestring budgets. We should absolutely be giving them whatever support we can. That's why I was happy to throw in for a gift FFRF membership (and another of Emily's readers added memberships to American Atheists and Americans United for Separation of Church and State as well). Make us proud, Christi! We know you'll do great things.

All this brings me to a larger point. Faithful faithless readers may remember that last year, I threw down the gauntlet in a fundraising contest for Camp Quest, the secular summer camp for kids from humanist and nontheist families. This epic battle pitted a motley team of underdog atheist bloggers, including myself, against the dark lord of all things tentacular and unholy, PZ Myers. Furiously did the battle rage, and when the smoke cleared, it turned out that Team Awesome was the winner, edging out Team PZ in a photo finish that netted just over $30,000. (I might have promised to do something in the event of our team's victory, which I like to think is what put us over the top.)

All told, the contest was such a success that we decided we had to do it all over again. Therefore, I'm proud to announce that Team Awesome has once again geared up, and from today until August 13, we're accepting donations on behalf of Camp Quest. The exciting part is that the Stiefel Freethought Foundation has made a $50,000 dollar-for-dollar matching offer, of which Camp Quest has already raised about $12,000. Any money contributed during this contest will go toward that remaining $38,000 and hence will be doubled by the Stiefel match. Nothing but bragging rights is at stake this time - I don't intend to grow another beard (been there, done that), and I certainly don't plan to get a tattoo. But bragging rights are important! Use the ChipIn widget to contribute, and help us beat PZ and hold onto our title!

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Who believes fake news? Study identifies 3 groups of people

Then again, maybe the study is fake news too.

Surprising Science
  • Recent research challenged study participants to pick real news headlines from fake ones.
  • The results showed that people prone to delusional thinking, religious fundamentalists, and dogmatists tended to believe all news, regardless of plausibility.
  • What can you do to protect yourself and others from fake news?
Keep reading Show less

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less

4 reasons why Apple, Facebook and other tech stocks are plunging

The so-called FAANG companies have lost more than $700 billion in market value since October.

(Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The shares of major tech companies were performing exceptionally well earlier this year, but those gains got nearly erased on Monday.
  • Overvaluation, the U.S.-China trade war and recent privacy concerns surrounding tech companies are among the reasons for the drops.
  • Apple and Facebook have been hit the hardest in recent weeks, thanks in part to a few major reports from news outlets.
Keep reading Show less