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Old 7th April 2008, 05:50 PM   #1
Wolfman
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Request Financial Support for Chinese Group at TAM 6

Dear all,

It is with a combination of excitement and some personal embarrassment that I write this. I have been planning to attend TAM 6 for quite some time now (it would be my first TAM), and had set money aside for that purpose.

However, as many of you will be aware from other posts, a few weeks ago I finally got permission to establish a skeptical/Humanist organization here in China. This is the fruit of some eight years of effort, and is something that is very important to me. And I made the decision that the money I had intended for TAM 6 will instead be used to help fund our first activities here in China.

Last week, I had a meeting with my Chinese partners in this new venture, and told them about TAM. I felt that it was very important to try to send one or two representatives from our organization to TAM 6. None of my Chinese partners have any experience with organizing skeptical events, and they have minimal contact with the international skeptical community. Going to TAM 6 would not only let them see how such an event is organized, but would also give them the opportunity to meet with skeptics from all around the world, and to begin to build a network with those people.

The decision was made that they would like to send two people. One of those is myself; the other is a Chinese woman, Susan Sun, who will be the principal organizer for our skeptical events. However, unfortunately, we have almost no financial resources here to support this.

In regards to registration fees, I've already been talking with several people, and it does not seem that this will be a problem. However, we still need to cover airplane (round trip from Beijing) and hotel costs.

I am not a person who is terribly comfortable asking for financial assistance -- I'm used to being the guy giving money to others, not asking for it. But between my Mosuo NGO, and this new skeptic organization, I'm just tapped out.

I am therefore putting myself, and Susan, in the hands of forum members here. If there is any way you can help out -- contribute money, or air miles, or any other creative manner to reduce costs -- please let me know. If we raise enough money for one person to go, it will be Susan. If we raise enough money for both, we will both go.

An additional note -- just for full transparency and clarity. Two weeks prior to TAM 6, the World Humanist Congress will be held in Washington, D.C. If I can get the money to cover my costs for TAM, I would actually plan to go to the WHC also (they've already agreed to waive my registration fee), so my plane ticket would be arranged to arrive in the U.S. two weeks earlier. I'm not asking for any additional financial support for this -- only for TAM -- but wouldn't want people to donate money now, and then feel that I had been using them for some ulterior or hidden purpose.

Allow me to express my gratitude and thanks in advance. Not only to those who will actually be able to help, but to those many others who may want to help, but simply not be able to. I don't want to make this sound like some sort of guilt trip, or manipulate people into helping me. I know that there are many here who will share my excitement at this new opportunity in China, and who, like me, will be more than happy to do what they can to support it.
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Last edited by Wolfman; 7th April 2008 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 7th April 2008, 07:22 PM   #2
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I'd be willing to kick in a few bucks. I can't afford much right now, but every little bit helps, I suppose.

Do you have any way of accepting donations, like paypal or some sch thing?
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Old 7th April 2008, 08:02 PM   #3
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I have always greatly enjoyed your posts, and I'd like to meet you at TAM. I can contribute something, but it would be a very small amount.
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Old 7th April 2008, 10:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
I'd be willing to kick in a few bucks. I can't afford much right now, but every little bit helps, I suppose.

Do you have any way of accepting donations, like paypal or some sch thing?
Originally Posted by Normal Dude View Post
I have always greatly enjoyed your posts, and I'd like to meet you at TAM. I can contribute something, but it would be a very small amount.
Every little bit helps :-)

Yes, I have a Paypal account, that might be the easiest way to go at present; for those who cannot send money via Paypal, another option would be to send money (by cheque or money transfer) to my parents in Canada. They could then put the money directly on my credit card. (Sending money directly to me in China would be rather problematic.)

Once I get specific details hammered out, I'll post more info here.
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Old 7th April 2008, 10:30 PM   #5
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Wait, wait, wait. If we can only drum up enough money for one person, Wolfman will not be at TAM? Hmmmmm...
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Old 7th April 2008, 10:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
Wait, wait, wait. If we can only drum up enough money for one person, Wolfman will not be at TAM? Hmmmmm...
Ah, my sweet...I've been waiting for you to pick up on that little detail! But yes, getting Susan there is more of a priority for me than my own attendance, although it'd be a wonderful bonus if I can go too (Well, a wonderful bonus for everyone except Hokulele)
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Old 7th April 2008, 10:43 PM   #7
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Argh! This is like one of the poker bluff thingies. How much do I bet to keep my opponent in the game, without tipping how good a hand I am holding? If I offer to donate too little money, I miss a chance to meet someone (Susan) who sounds like a fascinating person. If I donate too much money, or encourage too many others to donate, I spend 5 days wearing a false nose and a wig with a fake name on my badge.

I hate mental games.
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Old 8th April 2008, 04:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
.... I spend 5 days wearing a false nose and a wig with a fake name on my badge.

I hate mental games.


But look on the bright side: You'll have a new avatar to lose bets with!
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Old 8th April 2008, 05:32 AM   #9
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Okay, here's how things are gonna' be done.

I don't wanna' start collecting money now, and then have to return it to numerous different people later if we can't get enough. So you can simply pledge a certain amount (you can either do it publicly here, or send me a PM), and I will keep a running tally. Once we have enough money to cover Susan's costs, I will contact those who have made pledges, and will collect their money. I will use the same process for myself (if we get that far).
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Old 8th April 2008, 06:08 AM   #10
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I'd love to help, but I was hoping to go, and I doubt I'll be able to afford it, and what with getting married in July it could be very difficult.
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Old 8th April 2008, 06:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by wollery View Post
I'd love to help, but I was hoping to go, and I doubt I'll be able to afford it, and what with getting married in July it could be very difficult.
Geez, putting your own wedding ahead of the needs of some guy you've never even met...well, all I can say is...CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I really have to make it down your way some time soon.
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Old 8th April 2008, 06:45 AM   #12
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Okay. I'll help you out. But, only because you deserve it!
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Old 8th April 2008, 09:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
But look on the bright side: You'll have a new avatar to lose bets with!

You are dead to me.
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Old 8th April 2008, 11:26 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
You are dead to me.


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Old 8th April 2008, 04:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
You are dead to me.
Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
Don't take it too hard...she's got this whole necrophiliac thing goin' on.
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Old 8th April 2008, 04:43 PM   #16
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Total thus far is $275.00, with an additional possible loan of $1000 being discussed.
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Old 8th April 2008, 08:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Don't take it too hard...she's got this whole necrophiliac thing goin' on.


I bow to your greater experience.
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Old 8th April 2008, 11:48 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
Argh! This is like one of the poker bluff thingies. How much do I bet to keep my opponent in the game, without tipping how good a hand I am holding? If I offer to donate too little money, I miss a chance to meet someone (Susan) who sounds like a fascinating person. If I donate too much money, or encourage too many others to donate, I spend 5 days wearing a false nose and a wig with a fake name on my badge.

I hate mental games.
I think you are missing a golden opportunity here. In return for your (and others) help in getting him here, you can extract incredibly embarrassing tasks from him.
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Old 9th April 2008, 09:48 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
I spend 5 days wearing a false nose and a wig with a fake name on my badge.
I'm in. Wolfman, just let us know when you're ready to start collecting.

Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Total thus far is $275.00
Make it an even $400 ($125 from me).
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Old 9th April 2008, 09:49 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by UnrepentantSinner View Post
I'm in Wolfman, just let us know when you're ready to start collecting.

You are in Wolfman?
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Old 9th April 2008, 09:51 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
You are in Wolfman?
No. I was editing, and much like Jamie Lynn Spears, I missed a period.
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Old 9th April 2008, 10:22 PM   #22
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Okay, here's a summary of how things are at present:

1) Total funds needed to cover both myself and Susan is around $3500 -- $1500 for Susan, $2000 for me (the reason it is cheaper for Susan is that she doesn't have to pay for a hotel room, she can share with Hokulele). The actual cost may be lower (up to $800 lower), but it depends on when I actually am able to confirm that we have enough money, and can book the plane tickets.

2) Thus far, we have $420 in pledged donations.

3) I am also talking to a few people about the possibility of taking personal loans, that I would repay later. This is a very viable option, as my cash-strapped situation right now is only temporary, and I would be able to repay the money within a reasonable time. But there are obviously significant trust issues involved, also (ie. I never repay the loans); discussions are ongoing.

4) As I said earlier, the first priority is for Susan...if we can get up to $1500, then she will go (and, with combined pledges and potential loans, we've already almost reached that amount).
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Old 9th April 2008, 11:41 PM   #23
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In for a penny in for a pound. See PM. Aside from that discussion, .....

Count me in for $200 and add it to the tally, please. (Send me transfer details and PayPal.... PayPal and I have a checquered past but maybe I can make the thing work.)

I'm off to drum up the rest for you.
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Ha! Foolmewunz has just been added to the list of people who aren't complete idiots. Hokulele

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Old 10th April 2008, 12:03 AM   #24
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Well...

...we're now up to $1020 in pledged donations (!!!); combined with loans, it is now safe to say that Susan will, indeed, be able to attend TAM 6!

Thanks so much, all!
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Old 10th April 2008, 12:07 AM   #25
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Great!

So, that means everyone can stop pledging. Please.
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Old 10th April 2008, 12:16 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
Great!

So, that means everyone can stop pledging. Please.
Considering just how much the majority of members would enjoy torturing you, I want to thank you for what is perhaps the most effective way of raising further support to get me there, also
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Old 10th April 2008, 12:16 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
Great!

So, that means everyone can stop pledging. Please.
Bwahahaha! Head on over to FC in a couple of minutes. You'll recognize the thread and the meme!
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Old 10th April 2008, 12:19 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
Bwahahaha! Head on over to FC in a couple of minutes. You'll recognize the thread and the meme!
I think that Hokulele should make one of her special avatar bets...if I succeed in raising enough money to cover my costs, also, then she has to wear the avatar of my choice for two weeks I think that'd pretty much guarantee success!
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Old 10th April 2008, 12:27 AM   #29
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On a more serious note, I have sent PMs to all those who have pledged donations thus far, with my PayPal information. If you did not receive a PM, please let me know.
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Old 10th April 2008, 07:02 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
You are dead to me.
Alas my dear Horatius, were it only it that easy to rid oneself of Hokulele...

Paypal sent and in honor of our "travelling" star I added an extra $25 to cover the fuel surcharge.
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Old 10th April 2008, 05:51 PM   #31
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I really shouldn't the amount I have donated so far on TAM is obscene....ah hell, check your PMs'
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Old 10th April 2008, 06:41 PM   #32
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Hutch you aren't obscene! You are a dear.

And US!

Look guys, think...THIS is real skeptic work. And Wolfman, what a great thing YOU are doing.
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Old 10th April 2008, 07:03 PM   #33
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Thanks to everyone so far...all I can say is...wow!!!

I will give an update on funding status soon -- it seems we are rapidly approaching the point of full funding, with a combination of donations and loans, so at this point I feel fairly safe saying that both Susan and myself will be at TAM 6 (sorry, Hokulele).

A further piece of good news: as I mentioned above, I also plan to attend the World Humanist Congress in Washington, D.C., two weeks prior to TAM 6. They have agreed to waive all of my registration fees; and on top of that, today it was confirmed that they will actually give me one and a half hours at the conference to do a presentation about my work with the Mosuo in China! And I am invited to a private dinner with many of the top Humanist leaders/organizers in the world. All I can say is...well...WOW!
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Old 10th April 2008, 07:55 PM   #34
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Hutch / Kitty - when I asked (well, I just informed him) Wolfman if I could bandy this about the FC for support, it was just you two guys I knew would come through! You are two of the most generous (with your money and with your moral support) people I know of.

I concur with Kitty. I mentioned same in the FC thread. This is REAL SKEPTICS WORK (running the risk of a no-true-scotsman rebuttal). I'm actually getting real jealous of the attendees this year, but I've got too much on my plate, personal and business, to attend....
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Old 11th April 2008, 01:43 AM   #35
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Wolfman, you should give a paper presentation on the last day of TAM.
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Old 11th April 2008, 01:56 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by wollery View Post
Wolfman, you should give a paper presentation on the last day of TAM.
I've already submitted my proposal for doing so; am waiting for the final decision
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Old 11th April 2008, 11:03 AM   #37
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I've thought of a small but special way to say to say thanks to all those who have helped out, and shown their generosity. I will give each of you a colorful hand-woven Mosuo scarf/belt (can be used as either), made by young women at one of the training centers that my organization has set up. For those of you who are actually going to TAM, I will give it to you in person; for others, I will do my best to find a way to get it to you.

While I know that "generosity is its own reward", I hope that this will be a little extra reward. Below is a picture from the homepage of our organization's website...you will see the women have brightly colored belts around their waists. These are hand-woven from hemp...and this is what I'll be giving you.
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Old 11th April 2008, 06:48 PM   #38
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Is there any way we can help campaign for Wolfman's acceptance as a paper presenter, that wouldn't accidentally get him rejected on account of spamming the decision makers?

In other words, I don't want to do to Wolfman, what Wolfman accidentally did to Digg.
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Old 11th April 2008, 08:20 PM   #39
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Okay, folks...GREAT NEWS!!!

Having confirmed prices of plane tickets, and all other costs, we HAVE ENOUGH MONEY FOR BOTH MYSELF AND SUSAN TO GO TO TAM 6!!! This is a combination of donations and loans...so thanks to everyone! To those who have made such selfless donations, and to those who are willing to trust me that I'll actually pay them back!

And Wowbagger...I'd really love to give a presentation on Sunday, I'm sure that the organizers would consider specific interest from forum members in a particular topic in their considerations of who is finally chosen. I don't think that a polite PM to cosmic would be amiss...(keeping in mind that my own judgment in such affairs is, obviously, somewhat questionable)
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Last edited by Wolfman; 11th April 2008 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 12th April 2008, 04:20 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
I've thought of a small but special way to say to say thanks to all those who have helped out, and shown their generosity. I will give each of you a colorful hand-woven Mosuo scarf/belt (can be used as either), made by young women at one of the training centers that my organization has set up. For those of you who are actually going to TAM, I will give it to you in person; for others, I will do my best to find a way to get it to you.

While I know that "generosity is its own reward", I hope that this will be a little extra reward. Below is a picture from the homepage of our organization's website...you will see the women have brightly colored belts around their waists. These are hand-woven from hemp...and this is what I'll be giving you.
Oops...guess I hotlinked the image, so it got deleted...here it is again, sans hotlink.
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