The Questionable Authority

Are you a science nerd?

Janet has challenged all of us to a nerd-off. I’d love to participate, but before I can I’m going to need to figure out if I’m qualified. It’s not easy. Identifying nerds and geeks isn’t something that you can do just based on looks, or a superficial knowledge of habits and personality. Determining whether one is a nerd is a complex procedure, requiring the analysis of a large number of interacting variables. To aid in the self-identification of nerds, I’ve devised the following checklist:

You might be a science nerd if…

  • The ratio of journals to magazines on your coffee table and/or in your bathroom is greater than one
  • attempting to convert that ratio to a proportion would result in a divide by zero error
  • you just debated whether something is a magazine or a journal.
  • you get upset at the Mythbusters because they never give the p-value
  • you know what a p-value is
  • you are more likely to associate the word “significant” with “result” or “digits” than “other”
  • you are more likely to associate the word “bench” with “lab” than “park”
  • you associate “beaker” with both the glassware and the Muppet
  • you know who Beaker worked for
  • the first person you think of when you hear “Huxley” is one of the scientists, not the author
  • you know which Huxley is which
  • you are more likely to wear a lab coat than a dress coat.
  • you have problems deciding which t-shirt to wear to work today
  • more than one of the t-shirts has scientific information on it.
  • you just wondered whether a sweatshirt counts for the last question
  • you can instantly recognize the portrait of at least one pre-20th Century scientist from your field
  • you have a portrait of a pre-20th Century scientist on your wall or a shirt
  • when presented with “Wagner” and “Wegener,” you immediately know which is the opera dude and which was the continental drift guy.
  • you know what was wrong with the continental drift model
  • you know what a Newton measures
  • you have ever used parafilm at home
  • you think of culture as something in a petri dish
  • it takes you a while to figure out what “model” and “swimsuit” have to do with each other
  • you instantly associate the word “expression” with “gene”
  • you understood all or almost all of these questions

If you answered “yes” to more than a third of those questions, you are certainly a science nerd. If that is the case, feel free to participate freely in Janet’s nerdfest.

Comments

  1. #1 John McKay
    September 6, 2006

    I suppose a swimsuit model would begin with the sentence: “First, assume a spherical beach…”

  2. #2 PZ Myers
    September 6, 2006

    Oooh, I love parafilm.

  3. #3 Heather
    September 7, 2006

    Or if you carry a Sharpie at all times in your purse/backpack/bike bag. Extra points if you have more than one colour…

  4. #4 Kristjan Wager
    September 8, 2006

    I would change

    # you are more likely to associate the word “bench” with “lab” than “park”

    to

    # you are more likely to associate the word “bench” with “lab” or “mark” than “park”

    but that might be the computernerd in me speaking.

  5. #5 Daniel
    September 8, 2006

    Hahahaha…. some of these questions crack me up!

    “you get upset at the Mythbusters because they never give the p-value” Hahahaha! YES! OMG you should see me shouting at the TV. “That is not statistically significant!!!”

    “you know what a p-value is” I’m certain I do within a 95% confidence interval.

    “you associate “beaker” with both the glassware and the Muppet” There’s a muppet!?

    “you are more likely to wear a lab coat than a dress coat.” Hahaha… I own three of the former and none of the latter.

    “you have ever used parafilm at home” Don’t ask me what for though…

    “you think of culture as something in a petri dish” Hey! Don’t knock bacteria. They’re the only culture some people have.

    “you instantly associate the word “expression” with “gene” And traffic lights remind me of microarrays. Hahahaha.

    Oh man, I haven’t laughed this hard in quite some time. Thanks a lot!

  6. #6 coturnix
    September 8, 2006

    Except for not watching Mythbusters (or not really not knowing what it is) I answered every quesiton with a resounding Yes.

  7. #7 Peter Z.
    September 10, 2006

    Do I get extra points for giving this test to my non-sciencey friend as a negative control to normalise the scores by?

  8. #8 Donn Y
    September 12, 2006

    Yea, Mythbusters always with that n of 1 – like they don’t even run triplicate wells. And power? And how many of you think “beta” or “type II error” when you hear “power”?

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.