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.

 

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:



Please help me out by Tweeting out this article or posting it to your favorite Facebook group.

There are two ways you can help support this blog. First, you can use Patreon by clicking on the link below. It allows you to set up a monthly donation, which will go a long way to supporting the Skeptical Raptor
Become a Patron!


Finally, you can also purchase anything on Amazon, and a small portion of each purchase goes to this website. Just click below, and shop for everything.




 

(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.



Please help me out by Tweeting out this article or posting it to your favorite Facebook group.

There are two ways you can help support this blog. First, you can use Patreon by clicking on the link below. It allows you to set up a monthly donation, which will go a long way to supporting the Skeptical Raptor
Become a Patron!


Finally, you can also purchase anything on Amazon, and a small portion of each purchase goes to this website. Just click below, and shop for everything.




(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.

 

Andrew Wakefield birthday gift – support the Skeptical Raptor

Andrew Wakefield birthday gift

Yesterday, 3rd of September, was birthday of one of the most vile frauds known to this planet. Using a term we just learned, benevolent trolling, we’re asking the loyal readers of the Skeptical Raptor to consider giving an Andrew Wakefield birthday gift to the snarky dinosaur so that he might enhance this website to make it even more snarkalicious.

This website has made it one of its missions to constantly attack the vain ignorance of Wakefield and his sycophants. Consider this – if you Google “Andrew Wakefield fraud,” the number two Google hit is yours truly.

Andrew Wakefield birthday gift

Actually, we were surprised by that. And we are very proud that our regular features discussing Wakefield, his lame fraudumentary, Vaxxed, and many other aspects of this cunning fraud, are so popular on the internet.

But to keep this website going, especially in light of the millions of page views we get each month, please take a moment and contribute whatever you can to keep this place running. We’re getting pretty close to the goal of $1500, which will help upgrade the server, coding and landing page.

In fact, we’ have already become the upgrade process for the server, and the transition will continue over the next week or two. Issues with 404 errors have nearly dropped to 0, since implementing the changes. We do have much more to do.

Give to the Andrew Wakefield birthday gift fund. What is that you ask? It is the promise that the feathery dinosaur will continue to troll the fraudmeister as many times as we can. In fact, sometime next week, we’re going to have an “Andrew Wakefield, cunning fraud” page that will contain all of the myth busting that has been written here about Wakefield.

One more thing – the Skeptical Raptor just growled into my ear that he’s a little ticked off that he’s number two on the Google hit parade for Andrew Wakefield. Number 2 is actually pretty damn fine.

But please help out if you can. We’re almost there. Just click on the links below, and you can donate to the site. Thanks everyone!

Cult science – the raptor enjoys hunting down pseudoscience

Skeptical Raptor checking out cult science

The Skeptical Raptor hates begging. He’d rather just get his meals from ripping apart the ignorance of pseudoscience. Before the advent of crowd-funding, like GoFundMe, we probably would have shut this website down, because the cost to run it is so high. We do feel as this website serves a function in the community as a resource to fight cult science, like anti-vaccination and anti-GMO pseudoscience.

Every day, we check who links to an article here. We are always surprised when a legal article about vaccination, from Professor Dorit Reiss, gets a link from an Italian website. Maybe some Italian law student is looking for a way to figure out how to figure out a ruling of the Italian court system. Maybe an Italian parent heard a rumor about how Americans do things with vaccines, and gets clarification.

This website is here to provide evidence and arguments to reject cult science and bad pseudoscience. That’s all.

We need to raise funds to improve the experience. We get too many 404 errors when the servers get overloaded. The front page, though much better than it was just two years ago, needs to be modernized. The website needs to be speedier and more efficient, something outside of the skills of one 65 million year old dinosaur. And that’s only marginally a metaphor.

Amazingly, we’ve raised about ⅙ of the funds that should be sufficient to get most of the things done. We need to move to a more powerful server. We need to clean up code. And we need to redesign the pages (probably the hardest thing to do).

The feathery dinosaur doesn’t want to beg, but we can’t run this place alone. If you’ve found this place at all useful, throw a few shekels this way. Bars of gold are also acceptable.

We’re not threatening shut down of Skeptical Raptor. We’d plot along as best we can. But it’s important to keep some of the articles here in the #1 hit parade of Google Hits for vaccines and other subjects. If you want to debunk “bananas cure cancer,” go ahead and google it. An article here is usually number 1 or 2 on Google hits.

Please contribute whatever you can.

 

Internet woo – the feathery dinosaur needs your help

Internet woo

Yesterday, we mentioned how much this website has grown. We’re now getting several million hits and visits per month, which has meant that we need new enclosures (servers and web design) for the raptor. Feeding on all that internet woo and pseudoscience has contributed to this massive growth.

There is advertising on this site that pays some of the monthly costs, but with more and more people using Ad Blockers, a good 80% of the hits don’t result in views of the ads. So, the hungry, feathery internet woo attacking dinosaur can’t be fed properly.

Basically, we need to invest in the overhead to make this website work for a long time. For example, we need to do some basic website re-design, like modernize some of the code and improve the look and feel. We still haven’t been able to get a good front page that allows people to see the best articles.

W also have to improve the server. Last month, we were running at 500% of the allowed 4 cores (processors) for my website. I need to move to 10 cores ASAP. This site is supposed to run on 4GB of RAM, but last month I was running at 8-10. Those might sound like nothing for your MacBook Pro (well 10 cores is kind of massive), but the feathery dinosaur is trying to share the server with someone who might have a small internet storefront for Etsy or eBay.

The raptor may be mean to internet woo pushers, but he (or she, not sure how to check, or even if I should) is sympathetic to neighbors.

Internet woo

The internet host starts throttling back this website to keep others on the server running at full speed.  What this means is a bad experience for you the reader. There are thousands of inbound links to this website from numerous authors across the world who also attack internet woo and junk science. The raptor would like to keep those lines always working, 24/7.

We joke that we get money from Big Pharma to run these websites. We actually don’t. We do it for fun, for education, for good science. We all know that sites like this (not being modest, just factual) help all of us win the good fight against lies, misinformation and ignorance.

The raptor is appreciative of the authors, like Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, who takes time out of her incredibly busy day to write important articles about laws and vaccines. She doesn’t do it for profit, she does it to inform. And people know to visit here for the latest information from her, and the raptor needs to make certain that readers have an efficient and stress-free experience on this website. And to make sure that the links that all of you share from Professor Reiss’ articles make it out to the public.

So please contribute to the GoFundMe campaign for the feathery dinosaur. He thanks you all, because your help is appreciated. And he really needs more space to grow. There is just so much internet woo to consume.