I'm bowing to peer-pressure and joining the throng of SciBlings who have admitted to taking the nerd test. Orac's been trying real hard to claim dominance in this category, and having met the man I am reluctant to argue with him, but it would seem like quite a few of us are giving him a run for his money.
For the record, I scored just as highly as he did on the nerd test, which means that we are equally nerdy, or that we are not actually equally nerdy but one of us knows how to game the test, or that neither of us is all that nerdy but both of us can game the test. (And I should get bonus points for working the possibilities on that one.)
Let's get down to the specifics:
Forget about the my momma/daddy stuff that Janet and Orac have been throwing down. Real nerds are made, not born, and should be judged not on how easy it was for them to become a nerd, but on how well they do at turning others into nerds. On those lines, my daughter figured out how to kill the net nanny software when she was 6, and tried to use a credit card she "borrowed" from her mother to register for the disney.com premium content when she was 7.
Lord of the Rings: Yeah, I've read that a lot, too. I've got some significant chunks of LotR and The Hobbit committed to memory, and can (and sometimes do) pick it up and reread random chapters without having to try and remember where the different storylines were. I've read the Dune series quite a few times, too. Personally, though, I prefer God Emperor to Children or Messiah.
Online text-based gaming during college? Sorry, Orac, but I think you might have been in college too early to manage to hit the heights of nerddom there. I've got just two words for you: Furry MUCK. Hell, I still remember what MUD, MUCK, MUSH, and MOO all stood for.
My roomate had one of the very early Macs that he had converted into a fish tank.
Role Playing? I wasn't just a member of that club in high school, I was the president. (No waiting until senior year to start for me.) And I was Technical Director for the Stage Crew. I don't have enough time for role-playing now, but I still squeeze in miniatures-based wargames on a semi-regular basis.
When I was quite young - like 6-8 - I would play chess and talk about plate tectonics with the old men in the park.
I've been losing nerd-points for physical appearance lately, but at the end of high school and through quite a few years after that, I had the Mark Chu-Carroll look going, but with a bonus feature - add a cheesy mustache to the balding ponytail look.
Still want to play?
You can't tempt us with that description and not post a picture! Come on!
QA's Mom here
I've always thought having gifted children is like the Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times." -- QA's first full sentence was "why does the barber pole go round and round?" He was a less than a year old, and God help me I thought this was normal.
When he was 3, on an IQ test given to him by a grad study friend, the interviewer pointed to his arm and asked QA to tell him the name for it. QA said "radius and ulna."
He did play chess with the old men, (he actually began playing with them when he was almost 5) and picked up a fair amount of Yiddish from them at the same time. He couldn't beat them though until he was about 7.
His brothers (he's the oldest of 4) were just as quirky -- just different -
# 2 son began reading from baseball cards when he was 2, and could quote baseball statistics of virtually any player at 4, and memorized the entire subway systems of NYC, Boston, and DC when he was about 8.
I remember # 3 who was the least nerdy of the bunch (he was a jock actually) telling me when he wasin HS that the "2 most beautiful things in the world were calculus and women's breasts" -- How's that, I asked. Reply "curves, Mom Curves"
# 4 just watched and laughed at all of them, proving he was probably the smartest of the crew.
As for my granddaughter, the poor child never had a chance -- she was pulling an old computer keyboard around by the cord (like other toddlers do with pull-toys) before she could talk. Yes, her dad had removed the plug.
Neither their Dad or I are particularly nerdy -- he's a psychiatric nurse, I'm a community organizer. We're actually pretty inept technologically. But we did have more books than money in the early days. And we did place a high value on intellectual pursuits, passion for what you do, and humor.
And, oh -- we're very proud if somewhat bemused by the men they've become
Have you forgotten what anniversary September 8 is? I haven't.
Mike, your mom sounds cool.
Althought I wrote a humerous book about how I became a scientist, Hillbilly to Harvard to Yale (http://www.lulu.com/content/337923), my nerd score is only 34. Guess I am just a hillbilly after all.
"Hell, I still remember what MUD, MUCK, MUSH, and MOO all stood for."
Ack!! All those lost hours, not to metion a few skipped classes. And yet I suddenly feel the urge to start again.
I'm 12% nerd.