Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Nerd Goddess

I am nerdier than 97% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Worship me, fools.

Really, there was no hope for me. My path to nerdocity was shaped by older siblings: my late sister who was a junior high school math and science teacher (originally wanted to be an engineer, but in the late 50’s/early 60’s, this wasn’t exactly encouraged) and my brother who is a physicist. At age 6, I played chess with my brother who was a member of the high school chess team (if that doesn’t say “Kick me,” I don’t know what does), and poured over my sister’s college biology textbooks. I waxed poetic on the various species of dinosaurs in my first grade class circa 1960-61.

I read many of my brother’s pulpy sci-fi books. I owned The Hobbit, The Lord of the RIngs (hardcover), and Bored of the RIngs which I consumed multiple times in the late 60s through early 70’s. I could spell my name in Elvish (Sindarin). I subscribed to Analog and later Asimov’s Science Fiction. My brother and I ground a 6 inch mirror and made a reflective telescope. I tried to decipher his college physics books when I was in 6th grade when my biology texts became too easy.

I hung out at the university computer (as in reel to reel storage) labs with my brother whose grad student gig was to babysit the whirling machine in the evening. My next computer experience was with FORTRAN and card readers as an undergrad. That’s right. Card readers. Oh, and I learned how to use CALCOMP (marginally learned, that is) for drafting. All on cards. The first PC I tickled was my grad advisor’s machine. This was a North Star (ZBASIC language) which was hooked up to acquire data from a stopped flow spectrophotometer. The fact that I know what that is and how to use it already vaunts me into the nerd stratosphere.

My social life in high school was truly nerdsome. Dates were scarce. Very scarce. Between my average at best looks, “good grades” and sarcastic demeanor, I wasn’t exactly every high school boy’s dream. College was different. I met others of my own species. Intellectual oneupmanship and who had the best calculator (HP/RPN all the way, baby!) became the stuff of pillowtalk. Not that I was competitive or anything.

And so here I am now on Science Blogs competing in a motherf*ckin’ nerdoff. I think my 15 year old daughter put it succinctly after I was prattling on about some drug’s mechanism of action which segued into gene regulation…

“Mom…you are such a nerd.”

And proud of it!

Note that I beat Kevin by 3 points. Boo-yah!


  1. #1 Kevin Beck
    September 8, 2006

    “I beat Kevin by 3 points. Boo-yah!”

    Yeah, well only because I dismantled my laptop — I needed the parts to build an “Orgazmorator” that puts Choad Boy’s to shame, and since finishing this project I haven’t had to motivation to replace it (or leave the house at all).

  2. #2 Doc Bushwell
    September 9, 2006

    Just be sure your newly assembled device uses a safe fireproof Li battery. Incinerated microchips and human spunk make for a vile olfactory insult.

    Forgot to add that I helped my brother assemble a color TV from Heathkit. That was pretty cool. I was really taken with the little capacitors.

    As a doddering menopausal matron, I am more of an old school nerd in contrast to you younger folk. I have to say that Orac’s ubernerdsomeness is disconcerting since his traits are so similar to those of my college swains.

  3. #3 xBarry31
    September 9, 2006

    I don’t think I should even be in here with you people…my nerd score was a mere 5.

  4. #4 The Ridger
    September 9, 2006

    5? Wow… I was astounded at my 72 – not considering myself very nerdy at all. But jeepers… maybe I am a midlevel nerd!

  5. #5 xBarry31
    September 9, 2006

    Yes its true. I haven’t looked at a periodic table of elements since 10th grade chemistry.

    Aside from knowing that Marie Curie discovered radium — which is only useful as knowledge to me in that it is a random crossword answer — I don’t know the first darn thing about it.

    I would never have gotten manganese right (I thought magnesium). Although maybe I am a little nerdy since I looked it up after.

  6. #6 Dr. Eye
    September 10, 2006

    97…I guess that’s not too bad.
    I am a bit surprised at my 98 though. Still, I do like the old HP calculators best.
    And goddamnit, BASIC doesn’t belong on that list, all the others are compiled.
    Well, gotta go take the pocket protectors to the cleaners…

  7. #7 Jim
    September 10, 2006

    Compilers Shompilers. Some versions of BASIC can be compiled and I have seen normally compiled languages which had “instant run-time” capabilities (i.e., interpreters). In this context, I think the proper answer would relate to whether or not a nerd would use said language and what sort of things the nerd would use it for. Thus, although I would be one of the first to chime in regarding BASIC’s faults (or Fawlt’s, as the case may be), I would not immediately remove it from the list.

  8. #8 Jud Phud
    September 11, 2006

    I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that I hit 99. You’d think the law degree would have scared the nerdiness right out of me, but it only seems to have made it worse.

  9. #9 Doc Bushwell
    September 11, 2006

    I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that I hit 99. You’d think the law degree would have scared the nerdiness right out of me, but it only seems to have made it worse.

    I’ve worked with a lot of patent attorneys, most of whom have backgrounds in science. More often than not, that combination takes nerdiness to an unspeakable level.

  10. #10 Jud
    September 11, 2006

    So true.
    When I was in academia, I thought people were geeky and bright. Once I joined a patent law firm, I realized that the people were, as a group, the smartest and geekiest people I’d ever met, and maybe ever will.

  11. #11 Oleg
    September 19, 2006

    You know, I am sort of surprised that I keep running (no pun intended) into you and Kevin. Whether it’s Chad Orzel’s comments on his blog about something mean you said about fat people a few months ago, or a pathetic tie for #6 nerdiest blogger (a tie? for #6? Is that REALLY the best you can do? Come on!), either way, I keep coming back to yours and Kev’s blog. This world is really, really tiny… Can’t runners and nerds live in their separate corners of blogosphere? Is it too much to ask for?

New comments have been disabled.