I was at the SXSW tech conference over the weekend to be on a panel about 2012 doomsday nonsense. Right after, Helen Popkin of MSNBC interviewed me about this stuff:
[If the video above doesn’t load, hit refresh; I’ve found that happens sometimes and refreshing usually fixes it.]
The panel was fun — I gave an overview to and quickly debunked a bunch of 2012 claims, while JPL scientists Don Yeomans and Veronica McGregor talked about asteroid impacts, and what NASA is doing to calm unfounded fears about them. Asteroids are indeed a threat, but that danger is routinely exaggerated way beyond reality by lots of folks (YouTube fearmongers, I’m looking at you). There’s no real danger of the Earth ending in 2012, Mayan calendar-wise or otherwise — but the real danger is the overhyped fear of nonsense.
Forewarned is forearmed. Be aware of the reality of the situation, and save yourself a lot of trouble.
But it’s not all fun and games: I’m on a panel about asteroid impacts and doomsday nonsense called 2012: You Bet Your Asteroid the World Won’t End. I’ll be talking about random 2012 doomsday stuff, NASA asteroid expert Don Yeomans will be talking about the real threat of impacts, and JPL’s Veronica McGregor will discuss how they’re trying to stave off hysteria (she runs the @AsteroidWatch Twitter feed).
This should be fun, as well as informative. And I plan on really soaking up as much of SXSW and Austin as I can. I’ve been to the town many times, and I love it. It’ll be weird to see it so crowded, but I know it’ll be a blast. I know a lot of friends will be there too. Any BABloggees planning on dropping by the panel?
Hey, guess where I’ll be?
Yeah, there. Well, a little to the left of that big blob. Ypsilanti, Michigan, to be exact. On February 15th I’m giving my "Death from the Skies!" talk at Eastern Michigan University at 7:00 p.m. It’s free, so if you’re in the area drop on by! I lived in Ann Arbor for three years, so it’ll be cool to head back there.
And if you live in the Bethlehem PA area, I’ll be at Geroge Hrab’s concert a few days later! And then the live Nerdist podcast in Boulder March 2, and then SXSW on March 12th, and more stuff coming too.
Geez, I need to post a calendar. OK, I’ll put that on my list. If only I had a calendar to remind me…
Tip o’ the spacesuit visor to Fragile Oasis for the picture, which was taken on the ISS on January 30, 2012, because I assume the astronauts were excited that I’d be there. Credit: Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth."
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.