Help me get a panel at SXSW!

By Phil Plait | September 1, 2011 12:00 pm

SXSW (or South by Southwest if you want to make it easier to say out loud) is a major geekapalooza held every year in Austin, Texas. There’s music, film, and lots and lots of tech nerdery. I’ve wanted to go for a long time.

Now’s my chance, but I need your help! I was contacted by Stephanie Smith at JPL who is proposing a panel called "2012: You Bet Your Asteroid the World Won’t End", featuring JPL’s Veronica McGregor, near-Earth asteroid expert, Don Yeomans, and me. The panel would be about end-of-the-world scenarios, something about which I have plenty of fun things to say.

The thing is, the panels have to be voted on, and that’s where you come in. All you have to do is go to the SXSW panel picker, register (that only takes a sec), and then you can vote for what is undoubtedly the best panel out of the 3285 listed.

If you do, I will love you forever and send you a unicorn*. But please hurry — voting closes at noon Central (US) time on Friday, September 2. Thanks!

* Offer void where unicorns exist.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: DeathfromtheSkies!, Miscellaneous
MORE ABOUT: doomsday, SXSW

Comments (41)

  1. Physicalist

    Done. Send me my unicorn. (No they don’t exist here, so don’t even try to wiggle out.)

  2. DrummerGeek

    Done. Good luck, wish I could go!

  3. Chris G


    Best of luck!

  4. Carey

    Yeah, I think you need to void the offer where unicorns don’t exist, although I see where you’re going.

  5. Cyn

    Are you aware you put “Void where unicorns EXIST”?


    “Offer void where unicorns exist.”

    So then, it’s not true that Macs are washed with unicorn tears? 😉

  7. Jessica Entis

    Signed up and voted for you! I wish I could go!

  8. tphtwpe

    OK, I voted, but I won’t be able to go. So then you’ll find a way to get this on YouTube or something? I would love to see it…… the panel that is, not the unicorn, although that would be interesting too I guess.

  9. darjr

    Voted. Good luck!

  10. Glen

    Voted. I don’t need the unicorn because “I am a Unicorn”.


  11. Robin Byron

    Done. Hold the unicorn. I want an Egyptian Mu with super powers.

  12. Keith Bowden

    Done. Make mine invisible and pink.

  13. John Sandlin

    Cool. I’ve been thinking about going to SXSW too. It’s only an hour or so from here (heavy emphasis on the or so).

    The description mentions Comet Elenin. I hear that’s now Comets Elenin.


  14. JohnM

    Done. Hope your panel gets chosen.

  15. XRBfan

    Also done. Hope to see you there, but stay away from the UT astronomers, they are crazy. I should know…I was one. 😉

  16. Ron

    Done … although I was tempted by “Strangers With Benefits”.

  17. Tom (H. Type)

    Ok, I voted for your panel. I hope it makes it.
    Although, you realize our votes only count for 30% of the decision.

    …but you’re still going to send me full 100% Unicorn, right?

    Whats the shipping and handling on that anyway?

  18. James

    Done! I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  19. Done!

    Now… where is that Unicorn?


  20. Infrared

    Here’s another vote; good luck.

  21. I voted for ya’ll, Phil.

    If Stephanie mentions bowling, say “yes”.

  22. Gonçalo Aguiar

    Done. I hope you get into it!

  23. Bryan

    Done. I live in Austin, so it’d be a bonus for me if your panel makes the cut. :-)

  24. Tom

    Done. No need to send unicorn; your endless love is enough.

  25. Chris Pemberton

    Voted. Go ahead and send my unicorn to Wil Wheaton. He collects ’em.

  26. QuietDesperation

    So then, it’s not true that Macs are washed with unicorn tears?

    Nope. The tears come from alicorns – a unicorn/pegasus combo. Princess Celestia herself does the Macbook Airs.

  27. NOMAD

    Offer void where unicorns exist.

    Wait, but if it isn’t void where they don’t exist… but they need to exist for the offer… void… your facts are uncoordinated… error… error….

    (Processor explodes, taking out much of the West Coast)

  28. VinceRN

    Done. Does the unicorn come already processed, or will I have to take it to the butcher? I think I have just enough room in the freezer.

  29. gravespinner

    There seem to be a number of woo topics as well. Does the thumbs down help prevent non-critical-thinking panels?

  30. Messier Tidy Upper

    Voted for ya. After much struggling with the silly captcha thing. :-(

    Now where’s my unicorn? 😉

    Given I’m an Aussie I won’t be attending so please put some highlights up here ok? Good luck BA, I’m sure it’ll be great. :-)

  31. Ryeguy

    Voted and voted. I wonder if unicorn meat is tasty?

  32. cedric

    Done. Time to build a Unicorn pen.

  33. Captn Tommy


    Marco Polo in his travels to the east, speaks of seeing a number of unicorns in southeast asia, though they were unlike the unicorn of legend, quite ugly. In Latin they were called Rhinoceros.

    Thus BA you are off the hook.
    Ha !

    Captn Tommy

  34. Jamesonian

    Cheap bastard. You can go any time you like, you’re just too cheap to pay your own way.

  35. Jennifer

    You owe me a unicorn. I’m going to try to get there this year.

  36. @22. Captn Tommy : “Marco Polo in his travels to the east, speaks of seeing a number of unicorns in southeast asia, though they were unlike the unicorn of legend, quite ugly. In Latin they were called Rhinoceros.”

    I’ve seen it suggested that the “unicorn” may in fact be the last rare survivors of this :

    now extinct species. :-)

    As this wiki-page explains :

    as well as the Elasmotherium, oryx, narwhales and other creatures probably contributed to the unicorn myth. Marco Polo certainly travelled through that area – and, so I gather, was also known to um .. embellish .. some of his stories. (Or, more charitably, perhaps Marco had them embellished for him by those who told *him* some tales – or a mix of both.)

    Mind you, at least one Unicorn *does* exist :

    and contains one of the best triple stars in the sky! 😉

    Although I’d live to see the BA wrap it up and get it in the post to me! 😉

  37. Peter Davey

    In Chinese mythology, the unicorn was regarded as a symbol of wisdom.

    How appropriate that makes its use now, is up to the contributors to decide.

  38. VinceRN

    Always and education here. To me unicorns were something my daughter love in their stories and shows. I never really cared much about them. Now, thanks to Messier, I have learned more than I though there was to know about these critters.

    Also, doesn’t “I’ll send you a unicorn” seem a little out of character for our host here? I don’t recall many such off the wall non sequiturs here.

  39. QuietDesperation

    I never really cared much about them.

    I had a unicorn mount in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I forget what you had to do in the game, but it shows up in a clearing if you did whatever it was, and you could catch it and ride it around. It was pretty good in a fight, too.

  40. Childermass

    Done Phil.

    As unicorns do not exist where I live, you owe me a unicorn. If you don’t have one, as I estimate the free market value of a real unicorn to be at least fifty million U.S. dollars and so I will settle for that. I will release you of your obligation, if you attend your panel wearing an Oklahoma Sooners t-shirt.


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