The ancient feathered dinosaur is requesting your help, if you can

Your skeptical and feathered ancient dinosaur has been broken by life. And I do need your help in any way you can.

Over the past 36 months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. It’s like Murphy and his law are standing on my shoulders making everything go wrong.

I don’t mean to be whiny and make it seem that I’m the only one who goes through trials and tribulations, but I’m too old to do this. I’m supposed to be enjoying life, but there are days I want to give up. But here is just a sampling of what I’ve been through over the past year and a half:

  • A romantic breakup.
  • My relatively new car decides to just fall apart just after the warranty expires. Of course.
  • My major source of income is this website, and it collapsed in readership in 2022 causing my income to drop to a tiny percentage of what it was in 2021. I wish I know what caused it, I think it’s a Google thing, but I have been unable to fix it. I still post 20-30 articles a month, way beyond what many bloggers do.
  • I was robbed three times, yes, three times. My nice camera equipment and other important stuff were stolen including my passport, credit cards, and other stuff. I cannot afford to replace my newer MacBook Pro, so I’m using an older one that I could afford, even though it makes it more difficult to do images and research.
  • And then there’s my 16-day stay in the hospital for cellulitis. I nearly died. I nearly lost my leg. I’m going to incur significant expenses for this. Even though I have outstanding healthcare insurance, I received care at a hospital that was not owned or contracted by my insurance plan. This is one of the flaws of the US healthcare system, a subject that I might write about later. I’m lying in the ICU, and the case manager has to discuss financial issues with me. I could barely concentrate on my leg, let alone what the hell is going on with insurance issues.
  • Finally, I started this fundraising to get closer to my children. That goal seems unattainable right now.

I know that the story of this feathered dinosaur isn’t close to what many people in the world go through. I’m not dying of cancer. I’m not scrambling to find my next meal. I’m not suffering from dementia. To many, I’m lucky and privileged.

I don’t want to compare myself to others, I can only communicate to my friends and strangers what I’m feeling, and that is I’m running out of energy. And I need your help.

There are three ways you can help me.

Number 1

The first way costs you no money, other than buying something on Amazon. Just click on the image/link and buy whatever suits your fancy.

Number 2

The second way is Patreon:

Become a Patron!

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic, without any advertising. You get the same articles that are here, but ad-free (which I know some people want). It only costs $5 to be a Patron, but more will help too.

Number 3

And the final way is on my GoFundMe page:

Bonus Number 4

Oh, there’s one really easy way to help me out. Please share my articles on any social media platform you like, that really helps all the time.

The old Skeptical Raptor needs your help. Please.

Your favorite old feathered dinosaur has been broken by life. And I do need your help in any way you can.

Over the past 36 months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. It’s like Murphy and his law are standing on my shoulders making everything go wrong.

I don’t mean to be whiny and make it seem that I’m the only one who goes through trials and tribulations, but I’m too old to do this. I’m supposed to be enjoying life, but there are days I want to give up. But here is just a sampling of what I’ve been through over the past year and a half:

  • A romantic breakup.
  • My relatively new car decides to just fall apart just after the warranty expires. Of course.
  • My major source of income is this website, and it collapsed in readership in 2022 causing my income to drop to a tiny percentage of what it was in 2021. I wish I know what caused it, I think it’s a Google thing, but I have been unable to fix it. I still post 20-30 articles a month, way beyond what many bloggers do.
  • I was robbed three times, yes, three times. My nice camera equipment and other important stuff were stolen including my passport, credit cards, and other stuff. I cannot afford to replace my newer MacBook Pro, so I’m using an older one that I could afford, even though it makes it more difficult to do images and research.
  • And then there’s my 16-day stay in the hospital for cellulitis. I nearly died. I nearly lost my leg. I’m going to incur significant expenses for this. Even though I have outstanding healthcare insurance, I received care at a hospital that was not owned or contracted by my insurance plan. This is one of the flaws of the US healthcare system, a subject that I might write about later. I’m lying in the ICU, and the case manager has to discuss financial issues with me. I could barely concentrate on my leg, let alone what the hell is going on with insurance issues.
  • Finally, I started this fundraising to get closer to my children. That goal seems unattainable right now.

I know that the story of this feathered dinosaur isn’t close to what many people in the world go through. I’m not dying of cancer. I’m not scrambling to find my next meal. I’m not suffering from dementia. To many, I’m lucky and privileged.

I don’t want to compare myself to others, I can only communicate to my friends and strangers what I’m feeling, and that is I’m running out of energy. And I need your help.

There are three ways you can help me.

Number 1

The first way costs you no money, other than buying something on Amazon. Just click on the image/link and buy whatever suits your fancy.

Number 2

The second way is Patreon:

Become a Patron!

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic, without any advertising. You get the same articles that are here, but ad-free (which I know some people want). It only costs $5 to be a Patron, but more will help too.

Number 3

And the final way is on my GoFundMe page:

Bonus Number 4

Oh, there’s one really easy way to help me out. Please share my articles on any social media platform you like, that really helps all the time.

The old feathered dinosaur is broken — I need your help

feathered dinosaur

Your favorite old feathered dinosaur has been broken by life. And I do need your help in any way you can.

Over the past 36 months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. It’s like Murphy and his law are standing on my shoulders making everything go wrong.

I don’t mean to be whiny and make it seem that I’m the only one who goes through trials and tribulations, but I’m too old to do this. I’m supposed to be enjoying life, but there are days I want to give up. But here is just a sampling of what I’ve been through over the past year and a half:

  • A romantic breakup.
  • My relatively new car decides to just fall apart just after the warranty expires. Of course.
  • My major source of income is this website, and it collapsed in readership in 2022 causing my income to drop to a tiny percentage of what it was in 2021. I wish I know what caused it, I think it’s a Google thing, but I have been unable to fix it. I still post 20-30 articles a month, way beyond what many bloggers do.
  • I was robbed three times, yes, three times. My nice camera equipment and other important stuff were stolen including my passport, credit cards, and other stuff. I cannot afford to replace my newer MacBook Pro, so I’m using an older one that I could afford, even though it makes it more difficult to do images and research.
  • And then there’s my 16-day stay in the hospital for cellulitis. I nearly died. I nearly lost my leg. I’m going to incur significant expenses for this. Even though I have outstanding healthcare insurance, I received care at a hospital that was not owned or contracted by my insurance plan. This is one of the flaws of the US healthcare system, a subject that I might write about later. I’m lying in the ICU, and the case manager has to discuss financial issues with me. I could barely concentrate on my leg, let alone what the hell is going on with insurance issues.
  • Finally, I started this fundraising to get closer to my children. That goal seems unattainable right now.

I know that the story of this feathered dinosaur isn’t close to what many people in the world go through. I’m not dying of cancer. I’m not scrambling to find my next meal. I’m not suffering from dementia. To many, I’m lucky and privileged.

I don’t want to compare myself to others, I can only communicate to my friends and strangers what I’m feeling, and that is I’m running out of energy. And I need your help.

There are three ways you can help me.

Number 1

The first way costs you no money, other than buying something on Amazon. Just click on the image/link and buy whatever suits your fancy.

Number 2

The second way is Patreon:

Become a Patron!

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic, without any advertising. You get the same articles that are here, but ad-free (which I know some people want). It only costs $5 to be a Patron, but more will help too.

Number 3

And the final way is on my GoFundMe page:

Bonus Number 4

Oh, there’s one really easy way to help me out. Please share my articles, that really helps all the time.

The old Skeptical Raptor is asking for your help

brown dinosaur mascot

For those of you who don’t me, I am getting on in years, and I have come to realize that I focused on my career and lifestyle rather than the things that should matter most in my life — my three special daughters. They are now all adults, and it is time for me to be a part of their lives, as I live in California and they live on the East Coast.

Because of personal medical and spectacular financial disasters, I am stuck in California, far away from my daughters, and all of us know that the only way to be family again is if I am physically close to them. I need them since they are my only family.

I had a terrible breakdown while running a startup company. I put all of my money into it, thinking that just one more dollar would get it going. I failed, which caused what some people call a nervous breakdown.

Despite my ongoing travesties and missteps, this website was going to be my income stream to get me close to them. For about a year it worked, but Google changed its rankings for this website, and I’ve gotten clobbered. Many of my articles that were in the top 5 of the Google rankings are now <100. This destroyed my income stream from this website.

And if you don’t understand, writing articles, managing the back end of this website, and answering comments and questions is nearly a full-time job.

So, I’m asking for your help so that I can be in my daughters’ lives. Even if I get out there, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s the first step. I have limited years left in my life, and if I don’t do this now, I never will be in their lives.

I know that my story is no better or worse than anyone else’s, but I am really stuck. And I could use your help.

So, there are three ways you can help me.

The first way costs you no money, other than buying something on Amazon. Just click on the image/link and buy whatever suits your fancy.

The second way is Patreon:

Become a Patron!

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic, without any advertising.

And the final way is on my GoFundMe page:

I thank you for your support.

white and black bird flying under blue sky help
I might be this kind of raptor. Photo by Mohan Nannapaneni on Pexels.com

Cyber Begging for the old feathered dinosaur

brown dinosaur mascot

For those of you who don’t know me personally, for the past 18 months I had been working on a project to talk about science in the USA by traveling to various locations in the USA, documenting cool scientific facts, and building a new website and YouTube platforms. A personal issue (both good and bad) interrupted those plans. COVID-19 really interrupted those plans.

I had invested all of my savings and energy into these plans. I had hiked to remote locations, like Bumpass Hell in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Yes, that is its name.

And Lava Beds National Monument:

Or Joshua Tree National Park:

Unfortunately, my car was broken into, and my camera equipment, drone, backup drives, GoPro, tools, hiking clothing and footwear, tools, and backpacking equipment were stolen. Nearly $12,000, a big chunk of my investment.

Then my relatively new SUV, which got me to some beautiful places, decided to break down. Everything from tires, to the starter, to shocks, to brakes, to electronics, to the overpriced battery that should never die, decided to pile on to my stress.

And then there’s this website. It is my full time job, and it was, in combination with my other income, enough to cover my living expenses. But COVID-19 has taken a toll on both readership and advertising. And my other income.

So, I’m here to beg for help from my loyal readers. Many of my friends have chipped in, which allowed me to get my car up and running. And yes, I have an extended warranty (so please don’t call me), but it doesn’t cover things like shocks, brakes, battery, and tires.

Patreon

There are three ways you can help me out. First, you can make a monthly (or even one-time) contribution through Patreon. There’s nothing I can really do special for those of you who have contributed, but I’m hoping you think of this as a service that relies upon subscriptions.

Just click the link below.

Become a Patron!

GoFundMe

Or you can help out through GoFundMe. This is where many of my friends have helped me over the past couple of months, but honestly, it just got me to survival status, not to getting my dream vision of science-based travels to reality.

Amazon

I know money is tight for everyone, but easy way to help out is clicking on the link below whenever you want to buy ANYTHING from Amazon. It won’t add anything to your cost of buying anything at Amazon, but I get a tiny percent. So, if you’re buying a new Playstation 5 for your kids, just click here. And maybe I’ll get enough to replace one lens for my camera.

I really appreciate your consideration and assistance. Thanks!

Shop Amazon to help the fund feathery dinosaur – he thanks you

shop amazon

The old, snarky, cranky, curmudgeonly feathery dinosaur still needs funding to keep this website running for the next year. And to run it smoothly. And there is a way that won’t cost you money – shop Amazon, and a portion of your purchase will come to this website.

This is a painless method to support this website. And no, Amazon doesn’t increase your  prices to do this.

How does this work? Click on any of the links below to shop Amazon. And you can buy anything, although some of the links take you to promotions and other things Amazon is advertising. Just don’t leave Amazon’s website or shut down your browser.

So click on these links below, then do your shopping. Go grocery shopping, Buy a new computer. Complete your holiday shopping. Anything you want from Amazon.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

 

Remember, anything you buy at Amazon, not just the recommended ones above, will count towards this website.

But if you want to donate to the website, you can still do it the tried and true way:

[wp_ad_camp_5]

 

(Note: sometimes the PayPal button is mean and won’t work. You can just find the button along the sidebar to the right, and that one should work.)

Anything you can do will help. Go shopping for your whole family, friends, neighbors, and scientists at Amazon. Use GoFundMe. Use PayPal. The feathery dinosaur appreciates it all.

Thanks for your time. And shop Amazon – and buy a lot of stuff.

Help the feathery dinosaur for Thanksgiving – please

Help the feathery dinosaur

We are coming up on the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA, where we all fall asleep watching football and consuming turkey.  And we still have to ask readers out there to help the feathery dinosaur keep the website running for the next few months.

Admittedly, the feathery dinosaur is someone offended that one of his relatives, the distinguished turkey, is a part of this meal.

Right now, we’ve gotten about 60% of necessary funds from all of your generous donations. We’ve removed many of the ads that drag down performance of this website (we hope someone has noticed). We will going to leave a couple up because they don’t appear to have much of an effect on loading time. But we will monitor it.

There probably won’t be many posts for the next few days, because we’ve got a project on this website that’s caused by the vexatious (not really) Orac, who was forced to move his website to a new domain.  Actually, Orac gets better control over his website doing this, so that’s great for him, but an inside source said it took some work to get it done.

Unfortunately, we have literally 100s of links to his old domain. And we need to fix each of them – everyone hates broken links. As we review these links and articles, we might repost old favorites for your reading pleasure.

So, if you have the wherewithal, please help the feathery dinosaur. Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

There are two ways to contribute to this website.  First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.

Or you can use GoFundMe, if you prefer. They take off about 7%, but we know many people feel more comfortable with the anonymity of GoFundMe.

So click either the GoFundMe or PayPal buttons below to be taken to the secure website where you can contribute to the cause.

[wp_ad_camp_5]

(Note – for some strange reason occasionally, the PayPal button doesn’t work, a problem on PayPal’s side. If that happens, try the PayPal button along the right sidebar, which almost always works.)

We regularly revise the goal level on GoFundMe to include amounts we’ve received through PayPal. We started with a goal of $4000 and we’re already down to needing only around $1900 more.

Please help out the funding of this website for both the short term and long term. The feathery dinosaur thanks you.

It’s that time of year again – I need to do some e-begging

e-begging

It’s that time of year for the old feathery dinosaur, Skeptical Raptor to do something he hates. It’s the time of year for e-begging. That old dinosaur and I are trying to get enough funds to keep this place running, and running smoothly.

Like I’ve said a hundred times before, I started this website as a hobby. A place where I could write down some thoughts, share them with a few people, and call it a day. The first month of this website, January 2012, I had 100 visitors. And I was ecstatic. It wasn’t ScienceBasedMedicine, but as a hobby, it was great.

My total costs for the website were around $15.00 month on a shared server located in Colorado Springs. The technical people there knew me by my first name, and we would fix issues in about 10 seconds, and then talk about skiing or something.

Expenses

This year, 2017, I’m ranging from 120,000 to 200,000 unique visitors per month, 200,000 to 300,000 total visits, and 2-5 million hits per month. That can’t be done on a shared server, because my website would be demanding all the resources, and other websites on that server, like JanesCatGrooming would fail to load all the time. In fact my web host in Colorado kicked me off their service in February 2015 without any warning.

On my current web host, I pay $350 a month for a dedicated server and bandwidth. Frequently, I exceed the limits of the server because I publish a very popular article, and the website performance goes down. I really need to upgrade soon. I could get it cheaper if I paid for a year of service in advance, but that’s a huge outlay for me.

I also pay another $100 a month for various services that block hacking (very important these days, the Russians probably aren’t happy with my anti-Trump articles), track stats, improve performance, and other things that are critical to a website.

Then, I pay about $150 a month for a technical guru who fixes issues with the website. For example, I had to switch from http to https in one day to maintain Google rankings, who was dropping non-secure websites from rankings. That was a large expense for me, because there was a problem in how I originally set up the website (back in 2012). When I knew nothing about websites.

Revenue

Despite all of the hits and design of the website, along with what appears to be 50 ads, my ad revenue ranges from $80-120 per month. In other words, it does not cover my average $600 a month outlay.

There is an assumption that because I am a “Big Pharma Shill,” I am either wealthy from my past life or receiving huge checks from Big Pharma. Sorry, but neither is correct. Although I cover the costs of this website from my own monies, it is a serious burden for me.

This is why I need to e-beg for cash. I have several goals, beyond monthly fees, depending on the amount of money I receive:

  • I need to start caching this website to improve performance. But I have a major issue in how the website is organized which will require repointing every article to a new URL. This is an expensive and difficult undertaking, which only became a problem in the last few months.
  • I’d like to remove all but a couple of ads to improve performance. Since most of you use ad blockers (according to website data), I get no revenue, and still get performance hits.
  • I’d like to slightly upgrade the server to handle upticks in visits and hits.
  • I’d also like to really improve the performance of the website, which Google identifies as “Poor.” It’ll take a lot of work to get this done, above and beyond what I am paying out now.

I think there a lot of top articles with high Google rankings that counteract the misinformation of the anti-vaccine folks. Many of the HPV vaccine and GMO articles rank in the top 5. The articles on vaccines and law are often the most shared articles on this website.

I like to think that Skeptical Raptor is a resource to the world of scientific skepticism, especially in areas of GMOs and vaccines. I know if this website disappeared, it would be replaced by many of the other websites out there. But there are nearly 1100 articles posted on this website, and a good number of them are valuable tools in arguing with quacks and junk medicine users. For example, I wrote an article 5 years ago about whether bananas can cure cancer – they don’t, in case you were wondering.  That article still gets 50-100 visits a DAY.

e-begging sites

There are two ways to contribute to this website.  First, you can make use of PayPal. If you wish, you can set up PayPal to provide monthly contributions, which are just as helpful. I prefer PayPal, because it doesn’t take out a fee, so if you send $10, I get $10.





My second method is through GoFundMe. Some people are more comfortable with the anonymity and popularity of GoFundMe, and it’s a perfectly fine way to do it. However, GoFundMe does take a small portion as a fee for the service.

 

Your generous donations can keep this website going for another year. Please help if you can. And like I said above, if I can get enough donations, I can eliminate all but 2 low bandwidth ads, which will make me happier. And make the reader happier.

I really hate e-begging, but I need to do it to keep this website running. Please help out if you can.

 

Quid pro quo loving Skeptical Raptor looking for a deal

quid pro quo

The Skeptical Raptor loves a few things – chomping on Andrew Wakefield’s nonsense, making fun of those who deny science, and laugh hysterically at the utter ignorance of Donald Trump. Since some of these topics are interrelated – see the Trump-Wakefield bromance – so they’re like 2 for 1 deals. But the feathery dinosaur loves one more thing, the old quid pro quo.

For those who aren’t lawyers or know Latin, it is a phrase that means “something for something,” or “this for that.” No, this dinosaur had to look it up, as Latin, outside of a few scientific terms and TV lawyer, is not in his basic vocabulary. So, the old dinosaur wants to do a quid prop quo with its fans.

Basically, we want to rip out the advertisements at the bottom of the page. You know, the click bait ones like “101 secrets to youth” or “Big secret – this product will cure cancer” or “Celebrities are drinking this coffee, and why you should too.” We all hate these ads, though they are amusing – sadly, they’re lucrative. Lots of people click on them, even those of use who probably shouldn’t.

What we would like to do is remove those ads at the bottom of the page. They clog up the space between the bottom of the article. Also, lots of people can’t find the comments section because of all those ads.

On one side of the quid pro quo will be removal of those annoying ads. On the other side of it, we need to make up for the revenue to continue to maintain and build this website. And to provide excellent content without annoying ads.

We continue to upgrade the server and website using the original funding we got from all of you readers. Our server is a quad-core, 4GB memory. Generally, this website no longer times out, but the new design use a lot of memory resources. We would like to upgrade to a 16GB RAM to really make the server hum, but it’s a significant investment.

quid pro quo

Like NPR (for those in the USA), fundraising is a part of keeping this not-for-profit running with lots of content. We still have a guy (every website has a guy) who is helping us smooth out the problems with this new design. We’re not sure it’s exactly what we want, so we may change again.

Servers, web design, and fixing security issues absorb a lot of the cost of running this website – most of it comes out of the ancient dinosaur’s pockets. If he had pockets, they would come from them.

I know a lot of you of contributed a couple of months ago. We don’t need a lot, just enough to carry us through at least part of the year. While eliminating some of the obnoxious advertising. So if you have an extra dollar, euro, pound, shekel, ruble or yen, we would appreciate your assistance.

Your support keeps this website going with some of the best content around. I think this website has some of the best legal information regarding vaccines on the internet from Dorit Rubinstein Reiss. I know pro- and anti-vaccine people come here for information. Both Professor Reiss and the feathery dinosaur receive no compensation from anyone. We all do it to bring honest and well sourced information about all sorts of scientific knowledge.

Those cheap executives at Big Pharma don’t support this website, verbose dinosaurs or Professor Reiss. And even if they did, none of us would accept it, because this website has a mission – using scientific integrity to squash myths on the internet.

Please, contribute anything you can by clicking on either link below for the crowdsourcing website, GoFundMe.

 

 

Website – entering the new frontier with the Skeptical Raptor Version 4.0

website

August was one of the most successful months for the Skeptical Raptor website. We had one of the highest number of visitors for a month since this website was founded in January 2012. We again exceeded 2 million hits.

And because of the successful GoFundMe effort, I was able to afford a sweet new server, with gorgeous lines, and multicolored lights. Actually, I don’t know what it looks like, it probably just looks like a box.

As a result, for the past 14 days, I have had only 3 minutes of downtime. In August we had almost 300 minutes of downtime. And in July, over 1000 minutes. I got boatloads of messages back then that my website wasn’t working. And it wasn’t. So thanks to all who helped out with the funding. More on that later.

Hacking

 

Believe it or not, this website has been subject to a brute force hacking attack over the past 2 weeks. And you didn’t notice, because of my super powerful, gold plated server (no, just a box). We’ve had to spend a boatload of time patching everything, and snooping around to find if I have any vulnerabilities. There may have been a few, but they’re gone now.

And just to be clear, my password is not password. I am not running the Democratic National Committee’s server.

I’m not sure why anyone would want to hack the feathery dinosaur’s website. It’s not like this place is a repository of state secrets about Donald Trump’s vaccination record.

Website redesign

 

This is going to start next week. We’re going to try to test it out in the real world late at night, so there might be downtime as we upload the new super secret code, figure out it’s lame, and reinstall the backup. Usually, it’s a matter of seconds, but if someone pushes the wrong button, all might not be fine.

This will be version 4.0 of the website:

  • Version 1.0 went from about January 2012 through May 2013. It was just a boring old WordPress website on a tiny server in Pueblo, Colorado. Wherever that is.
  • Version 2.0 went from June 2013 through January 2015. We overwhelmed the servers in Pueblo, CO, to the point that they quickly shut us down. That was stressful.
  • Version 3.0 went from March 2015 (yes it took almost a month to move to a new server farm, far more powerful, and far more expensive than the $15.00 a month that we paid back in the day). This version really didn’t have much visible to the user, just a more powerful server.
  • Version 4.0 starts this week. After overwhelming the new more powerful server that we used since March 2015, we moved over to a powerful individual server (no more sharing), a complete cleanup of the code, and eventually a new web design.

Fundraising

 

I know, I hate this. But because of the hacking attack, some of the activities that I planned went to plugging holes, most of which I had no idea existed.

I would like to raise a little bit more, just to make sure the Skeptical Raptor website remains a good experience. We’re going to clean out some of the ads (since most of you use AdBlock, I doubt anyone will notice), make the landing page more readable, and make it more mobile friendly.

So, I still near your help, anything will help.

And that’s that.

Please contribute. We need your help.