Like an increasingly gnarly chia pet, SXSW has exploded in scope at an exponential pace. The massive set of film, music and interactive technology conferences have taken over the city of Austin each year since 1987, so it should come as no surprise that in 2015 yet another joined the fray: the Health & MedTech Expo.
Cosmologists propose that the universe was until recently a lifeless collection of particles. But they have ignored a critical component of the cosmos because they don't know what to do with it. This component, consciousness, is an utter mystery. How did inert, random bits of matter ever morph into Obama or Lady Gaga?
This week demonstrated the power of shared experiences and having some collective fun -- i.e. virality. It began with social media all atwitter over Patricia Arquette's Oscar speech -- and backstage comments. Next up, the Internet was riveted by The Great Llama Chase -- as the camelids, part of a therapy visit (Emotional Support Llamas?), made a break for it during a bathroom break. Later that same day, the most viral #dress in history had everyone debating: white and gold, or blue and black? If you saw polka dots you should probably see a doctor. The episode culminated with a national teach-in about color and optics. The week ended on a sad note, with the passing of Leonard Nimoy, never wiser than in his Spock-worthy final tweet: "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP." He lived long, and we all prospered from it.
While he amassed a raft of impressive accomplishments during his many years in and out of the film industry, it's of course for his pointy-eared alter ego as the original Star Trek's Mr. Spock, such an indelible part of so many of our lives, that he'll rightly be remembered, in death just as he was in life.