April 25, 2011

The Triumph of the Nerds

A reader writes:
I've been reading your site forever - wanted to share a story. 
So I'm in some Asian food-court type place in NYC yesterday and in comes a crowd of about 25 people.  Here's the breakdown of this crowd: 
*85/15 male/female
*80/20 white/asian (didn't see any hispanics or blacks)
*Mostly ages 18-25 or so, but with quite a few middle aged people
*Many were either very obese or sickly skinny and pale
*UNDENIABLY nerdy, everything about them screamed dungeons & dragons. I mean the group was so nerdy in appearance my girlfriend yelled at me because I couldn't stop staring.  I would describe this group as the kids that would be picked last in gym.
*One guy was wearing a Charles Darwin shirt but in the image of the famous blue & red obama image...Some androgynous young lady (?) was wearing some shirt that said something about defending your digital rights 
Anyway, this group is so interesting to me that I finally ask one guy what the meetup is...And it was... 
A Wikipedia Meetup!!!!  (Basically all these folks are hardcore wiki editors).

Here's a picture (at the bottom of the page) from a 2008 Wikipedia meet-up.

Wikipedia is a very big deal. For example, I devote far more time per day to reading Wikipedia than I do to watching television.

The Triumph of the Nerds is one of the most important stories in human culture during my lifetime. Consider current trends such as: today's youth don't like to talk on the telephone. They'd rather communicate via electronic telegrams tapped out with their thumbs. That's very strange. If you had asked me 20 years ago, I would have guessed that the hot communication trend in 2011 would be portable picture phones to provide more lifelike interaction. But, we live in an increasingly Aspergery age.

The rise of nerd culture might explain why Hispanics have had so little impact per capita on American culture. For the last 40 years, I've been reading that now that the number of Latinos in America has reached 10 million 20 million 30 million 40 million 50 million, we're all going to start paying more attention to Latinos and their vibrant culture real soon now. 

But we haven't, perhaps because Latino culture isn't nerdy enough.

166 comments:

Anonymous said...

The "Aspergery" behavior may be indicative of a society that is becoming increasingly low-trust.

headache said...

Having an above avg. IQ I have a strong nerd streak in me, although being physically strong and a good artisan (the German touch). Thus I have spent a lot of time with nerds. I get your point and have a certain sympathy for them, but I find that nerds lack courage and are unreliable, generally being pliable, or trying to be neutral, which is just a euphemism for taking the easy way out. Usually they try to be rebellious by proxy.

It is logical that our medial and digital age would lead to the incompatible combination of nerds running the system, whilst bosomed, blond bimbos dominate the human interfaces (TV/Video anchors). But as Whiskey likes to say (and this is a rare item on which I agree with him), physical things still need to get done, and unless you subscribe to the Anglo-Saxon model of cheap labour (which does not work in the long term), you need intelligent people with muscle to do those things (which is the central European skilled artisan/technician/engineer model).

Udolpho.com said...

More likely because our society has become more divided and the only culture we interact with much is our own subculture.

Also, most nerd culture is ephemeral. What nerds are good at isn't creating things that last, but copying and pasting information. Wikipedia is a case in point. Most of Wikipedia isn't contributions by domain experts, but nerds copying contributions by domain experts. It's more a giant binder than it is an encyclopedia with actual standards of scholarship.

wren said...

Wow, they really do look like a slightly different species.

Anonymous said...

Latinos are also boring and lethargic. So compared to blacks, who comepensate for their lack of nerdiness through high charisma and physical prowess, Latinos get less attention.

A similar trend can be noticed in the UK, in which Carribean/Jamaican blacks get a lot more public attention than the more numerous and boring Pakistanis/Bangladeshis.

Kai Carver said...

I don't know. Back in the day people communicated via letters on paper that took days or months to be read. They used Morse code, flags, semaphores. They wrote and memorized rhyming verse. They had very neat handwriting. They dressed like nerds. Men and women didn't interact much except on formalized occasions. And so on. So maybe nerds aren't a trend, but a resistance movement?

SFG said...

Maybe on a cultural level. A lot of nerdy jobs like computer programming are being outsourced.

SFG said...

"So maybe nerds aren't a trend, but a resistance movement?"

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/magazine/29wwln-idealab-t.html?_r=2&ref=magazine&oref=slogin

Hapalong Cassidy said...

Just as action movies have the black nerd computer hacker, I'm waiting for a movie to come out with a hispanic computer geek.

Anonymous said...

These are the heroes of our age. I wouldn't want to hang out with them, and definitely wouldn't want to catch some of their social stigma, but they definitely offer a lot of good to the world. We could do worse than killing everyone alive except for wikipedia editors to create an improved human race.

Hopefully Anonymous
http://www.hopeanon.typepad.com

RKU said...

...we're all going to start paying more attention to Latinos and their vibrant culture real soon now. But we haven't, perhaps because Latino culture isn't nerdy enough.

Actually, I think *lack* of Latino "vibrancy" is a huge factor in this. It all goes back to the NYC media elites originally assuming that all Latinos were like Puerto Ricans---who are pretty vibrant. But they're not...

Steve Sailer said...

"West Side Story" set a pretty high bar. (Even for Leonard Bernstein -- he suffered composer's block for years because he couldn't top WSS.)

Fred said...

"Just as action movies have the black nerd computer hacker, I'm waiting for a movie to come out with a hispanic computer geek."

The Matrix had them.

Chuck said...

interesting insight about Hispanics. the reason that people who aren't deeply interested in population demographics (a self-select few, not too far removed from the Wikipedia bunch) were so surprised that something like 1 in 6 people in this country are Hispanic, stems largely from their low group profile.

what does this mean for their future interaction with the status quo population of whites? if they mostly keep to themselves and fly under the radar, does this imply that when they become 40% of the population it will actually only seem that they are 20% of the population to the casual observer?

SFG said...

"These are the heroes of our age. I wouldn't want to hang out with them, and definitely wouldn't want to catch some of their social stigma, but they definitely offer a lot of good to the world. We could do worse than killing everyone alive except for wikipedia editors to create an improved human race."

From the WN point of view, a LOT of them are Jewish and Asian. Then again, they tend to be less ethnocentric than average (nerds tend to be less group-affiliative than average...hat tip to Derb), so it might not be the end.

Also, the lack of responsiveness to social cues and poor physical dexterity could be a problem if you were to populate the human race with that. They'd easily get killed in a war, for example.

I think Headache has a point with the German thing. Probably a lot of the Midwestern engineering genius and 'american can-do' is German genetically. If they hadn't been so lousy about picking their alliances and...ah...exterminating their local talent, we might all be sprechen sie Deutsch now.

(come on, if you'd stuck to gassing commies, you'd be fine. Heck, even Einstein was cool with you before you started picking on his people. And why on earth wouldn't you want Haber on your side?)

sabril said...

How exactly is this a triumph? They are doing a lot of work and they are not getting paid or laid for it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous

We could do worse than killing everyone alive except for wikipedia editors to create an improved human race.

Have you ever seen a Wiki edit war?

dearieme said...

In case I haven't told you before: a friend of mine, a theoretical physicist, was drafted to do some admissions interviews for Computer Science at Cambridge. "What should I ask them?" he beseeched me. "Reverse the old entrance test", I suggested, "just throw them a ball and if they drop it, offer them a place". "That's no good", he moaned, "They'd all drop it."

propercharlie said...

Blacks developed "charisma" and emasculated men and mannish women became aggressive only because we decided around the time of WWI to go victim culture. Bring back traditional honor/shame and that all will change. It may happen on its own anyway when people realize they can't vote themselves something for nothing anymore. See, there's no more funny money. The dollar will lose its reserve currency status very soon and the entire edifice will collapse like the proverbial house of cards.

Anonymous said...

How do you define triumph?

Hot girls are texting their alpha boyfriends instead of calling them? What good is that for nerds?

The rise of nerd culture might explain why Hispanics have had so little impact per capita on American culture. For the last 40 years, I've been reading that now that the number of Latinos in America has reached 10 million 20 million 30 million 40 million 50 million, we're all going to start paying more attention to Latinos and their vibrant culture real soon now.

But we haven't, perhaps because Latino culture isn't nerdy enough.


But the most non-nerdy race, blacks, seem to have increased their grip on popular culture during the same time. I can't turn on the tv without seeing some ESPN anchor kissing the ass of a street-thug turned 'baller' or some black popstar gyrating lewdly on a show aimed at tween girls.


Hapalong Cassidy said...

Just as action movies have the black nerd computer hacker, I'm waiting for a movie to come out with a hispanic computer geek.

http://i.imgur.com/RJrDs.jpg

Anonymous said...

In the past, nerds wore more dignified clothes and had beards. And so they looked more mature. Now, they look like teenerds.

Chicago said...

The Hispanics may not be as interesting as the geeky nerds but might be able to outvote them just due to sheer numbers. Thus the productive geeks may end up being harnessed and exploited by the Hispanics via government transfer of income schemes. They can vote themselves increases for the very many programs that benefit them and their large families via the politicians that cater to them. The nerds get to pay for all this. Perhaps the nerds need their own lobby in Washington.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein was not trying to top West Side Story so I wouldn't say he was blocked. Bernstein like Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan) was immensely successful in the "popular" musical theater of the day but felt he should be working on "serious" music. Both men turned away from the area where they had succeeded to write much less successful operas, oratorios and symphonies.

Bernstein expanded his short depressing opera Trouble in Tahiti into a longer and even more depressing opera A Quiet Place. He wrote a quasi-oratorio Mass that was too high minded for Broadway but not right for the concert hall either. And finally he kept noodling with his early brilliant but odd flop Candide.

In one of his books, Bernstein states his dictum that all musicals take place in New York City. Stage pieces that are set outside the city are, he said, operettas. West Side Story like On the Town, and Wonderful Town were all set in New York. After WSS he never again attempted another real musical set of the streets of NYC and filled with colorful and humorous characters who were recognizable human beings.

In his last years he became a celebrity guest conductor traveling the world and being lionized by an adoring musical press. He got adoration by the "right" people but we lost a whole canon of musicals that were never written.

Albertosaurus

Peter A said...

One aspect of Latino "vibrancy" that is particularly bizarre - restaurants. If there is one thing Mexico really does do better than America, I would argue it's food. Native Mexican cuisine is often excellent. Yet in my experience a surprising number of Mexican restaurants in the US aren't owned by Mexicans (although staffed by Mexicans, naturally). The two most successful local taqueria chains in Boston were started by Japanese Americans (a brother and a sister - who are rivals). The most successful Mexican restaurant chain in New England was started by a white New Hampshire guy named John Pelletier.

Anonymous said...

Inside Higher Ed: QuickTakes


Race, Athletes and the Brigham Young Honor Code



Black athletes are charging that Brigham Young University is tougher in enforcing its honor code on them than on other athletes or on other students.

...

The article in Deadspin, comparing the 60 percent figure to the total minority share of athletes at Brigham Young (23 percent) and of black people in the student body (0.6 percent), argues that "something is amiss."


More here and <a href="http://deadspin.com/#%215791461/the-truth-about-race-religion-and-the-honor-code-at-byu</a>here</a>.

corvinus said...

Consider current trends such as: today's youth don't like to talk on the telephone. They'd rather communicate via electronic telegrams tapped out with their thumbs. That's very strange. If you had asked me 20 years ago, I would have guessed that the hot communication trend in 2011 would be portable picture phones to provide more lifelike interaction. But, we live in an increasingly Aspergery age.

Actually, it's due to convenience more than anything. Why call somebody up and risk inconveniencing them while they're talking to somebody, or when they're in the middle of a class, to ask them a question or tell them something which can be done in three or four words, with a soft little buzz to tell them they have a message? Texting is much better in this case. More detailed plans, which cannot be sorted out by a couple of short texts, are still done by calling.

The rise of nerd culture might explain why Hispanics have had so little impact per capita on American culture. For the last 40 years, I've been reading that now that the number of Latinos in America has reached 10 million 20 million 30 million 40 million 50 million, we're all going to start paying more attention to Latinos and their vibrant culture real soon now.

But we haven't, perhaps because Latino culture isn't nerdy enough.


That's because the higher-IQ half of the Latino population is assimilating into the white population, just like the Italians of a hundred years ago, while the lower-IQ half assimilates to the ghetto/white trash norms, but still switching to English. I think the fall-off in Mexican immigration due to the recession may make this trend stick.

Paul said...

Aren't Anglo-Saxons physically strong and good artisans/technicians as well, like the Germans? What are the Anglo-Saxon attributes?

Anonymous said...

"So maybe nerds aren't a trend, but a resistance movement?"

The last paragraph of that story is mind boggling. Are trying to make out nerds as crypto-racists?

Anonymous said...

So many people play video games these days and so few engage in old timey masculine persuits like golf and hunting and such, that most people qualify as nerds these days. Its been that way for decades.

Anonymous said...

"Latinos are also boring and lethargic."

So, how interesting are the Swedish-Americans?
And how exciting have Wasps been since the... I forget. Robert Redford anyone? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Anonymous said...

The irony of wearing a Darwin shirt and having zero children.

Anonymous said...

"But we haven't, perhaps because Latino culture isn't nerdy enough."

We really shouldn't speak of 'Latino culture' because there's a world of differnce between, say, Mexicans and Cubans or Puerto Ricans(or any other bunch of Hispanics).

Also, there's a difference between 'vibrant' and 'essential'. Nerds may be more essential to the modern economy, but they are not vibrant--except for some Jewish comics. Maybe Silicon Valley needs lot of Asian-American geeks who collect Star Trek novels, but they don't excite us.

It may be that the Latin community doesn't produce lots of media talent but their manners, attitudes, lingo, dress, personality, etc have been excellent material/subject for 'vibrant' films. Think of SCARFACE and CARLITO'S WAY. Rather funny since most of the people involved--including the actors--were not Latino--, but Pacino as Tony Montana was a riot. He was cool as Carlito too.
And part of the appeal was Latin machismo among men, salsa sexiness among the women, the musicality, and color.
Nerds may do nerdy things together, but when they wanna have fun, they wanna go to a club with hot Latin chicas.

Kylie said...

"Consider current trends such as: today's youth don't like to talk on the telephone. They'd rather communicate via electronic telegrams tapped out with their thumbs."

That isn't just about today's youth. I remember reading decades ago that studies showed when a teacher appeared next to a TV showing his image as he taught, students across the board preferred watching the televised image to the real-life teacher. We like watching things moving on screens.

What I can't figure out is why we're apparently hardwired to prefer the image to the reality.

"I devote far more time per day to reading Wikipedia than I do to watching television."

So do I. But I'm careful to use it as a jumping-off point, not the final word, for any given topic. It has a leftist slant (and no, iSteve readers, I'm not going to provide links so don't ask. I don't bookmark nonsense like that when I find it). It also has a lot of inaccuracies.

I spend a lot of time at Google Books, the Google News Archive and Google Maps (the last of which are far more accurate than they used to be).

catperson said...

The rise of nerd culture can be perfectly explained by the Flynn Effect. Better nutrition keeps making people taller and smarter (especially at visual abstract reasoning) so we have a whole generation of computer geeks capable of working with gadgets on a level our grandparents could never dream of.

Anonymous said...

"A similar trend can be noticed in the UK, in which Carribean/Jamaican blacks get a lot more public attention than the more numerous and boring Pakistanis/Bangladeshis."

But are Pakistanis really more boring than blacks or only 'boring' within the contest of our pop cultural fixations on funky music and sports?
I think all peoples and cultures are interesting if you explore them deep enough. Usually, when someone says so-and-so is 'boring', it's often the case that the complainer is the truly boring person, for whom everything has to be loud, obvious, and be readymade/digestible for him/her.

We've all heard the whine, 'classical music is boring', but it is not boring if you pay close enough attention. The thing is, there has to be some effort on the listener as well. But most kids now grow up with pop-music-as-drug where every beat makes them wanna get up and shake their ass; so naturally, most stuff is just 'boring'.

Same with movies. The sort of people who say, 'foreign, art, or classic film is boring' are in fact the truly boring moviegoers. They prefer stuff like INCREDIBLES because it's a riot-a-second for 90minutes.

Our current EXTREME attitude can only appreciate women with big tits and big asses, men with huge muscles and mega penises, women of POWER, extreme thug males, space ships that blow up entire planets, the superduper nerd, the business titan(like Trump), or celeb politician(like Obama or Palin) etc, etc. Of course, in this kind of cultural climate, AVATAR is exciting and cool while 2001 is 'boring'. But, in fact, our cultural mindset is boring. It has been infantilized, made stupid and impatient and demanding stuff that give cell of your body orgasms.

It's like a kid who never grows up to appreciate leafy greens and only wants cookies and ice cream all the time. Ooooooh, it's sweet and creamy!! Yum yum!!
Just as kids prefer cartoons over real movies, we now prefer cartoonish version of reality to real complexities.

And despite PC and sensitivity, we love to stereotype and caricature groups more than ever: nerds, asexual feminists, geeks, 7-11 funny accented hindus, biggus dickus negroes, neurotic but lovable jews, kung fu chinese, wholesome gays, degenerate 'homophobes' etc. Indeed, some groups even prefer self-caricature. I suppose in a world of weakening traditional identities, certain endearing stereotypes are a kind of a substitute, just like certain agendas have become the new religions and crusades to satisfy the spiritual hunger in people's lives.
But gone from the culture is the human element, the notion that people are intersting as individuals of a culture/community without being a screaming stereotype of the COOL or the FOOL.

Anonymous said...

Triumph of the Skill.

Ray Sawhill said...

Genius posting, in that casual/offhand/blunt Steve way.

It's probably hard to believe today, but as recently as the 1970s "the geek" played a really small role in the general culture. And I mean "small" as in: you might have overlooked him entirely.

I was in boarding school and college during the '70s, and the kids who liked to play with computers were 1) tiny, tiny in number, and 2) total sock-sniffing losers.

At the time I thought of myself as pretty bright as well as pretty interested in science, so I spent a little time trying to hang out with the geeks. They were so weird, and such social pariahs, that I couldn't manage it. And besides: What on earth was so fascinating about playing Tic-Tac-Toe with "the Dartmouth computer" (a legendary thing of that era)? Me, I much preferred to read novels, watch French movies, get high, and try to make it with girls. The geeks had "Can't get a date" written all over them. Who wanted to associate with that?

Steven Levy's book "Hackers" is good on how the geeks turned out to have been the major cultural force of the last several decades. Levy started off as a pop-culture journalist himself, then stumbled into the computer-geek world and found himself thinking, "Hey, this is much, much more important and fascinating than rock and roll or movies."

Anonymous said...

"I devote far more time per day to reading Wikipedia than I do to watching television."

Same here. The popularity of texting among the masses has baffled me too. As a big nerd I used to love IRC because in it you didn't have to bother with eye contact (this doesn't come automatically to aspies and has to be consciously managed - a big drag), you didn't have to do small talk (another annoyance), didn't have to talk when you didn't want to, weren't under any social obligations to anyone on the other side, etc.

Why the regular, non-geeky kids of today text I have no idea. Perhaps it's just marketing - phone companies wanted to sell an extra service and, the young being sheep, they just got sold on the ads.

Anonymous said...

"Latinos are also boring and lethargic. So compared to blacks, who comepensate for their lack of nerdiness through high charisma and physical prowess, Latinos get less attention."

I live in the Bible-belt, and have never understood the view of blacks as being charismatic or entertaining. I've seen enough black preachers, politicians and entertainers to last four lifetimes, and charismatic isn't the word that often comes to mind. The willingness to loudly put forth crazy, corrupt or silly ideas in poor English isn't exactly charismatic, in my opinion.

OhioStater said...

The Last Psychiatrist Blog observed blacks have cultural relevance, even to people that dislike blacks, because blacks represent cool and freedom from responsibility.

http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2010/11/advertisings_collateral_damage.html

If I had to guess, I'd say nerds stand for living outside the status quo, which pisses people off.

Ramblin thoughts said...

The so-called "Triumph of the Nerds" is a limited success for those involved.

Sure, nerds have been socially elevated by dint of having more economic job security. They are more necessary in a knowlege-based than a farming or warrior based societies.

On the otherhand, they're are other trends working against them to limit their overall social advancement and happiness.

* massively increased social welfare programs (wealth transfer from the productive to unproductive), especially to single mothers, have made the steady earner husband increasingly unnecessary

* leftwing control of dominate culture has both removed the stigma of single motherhood as well as encouraged single woman to indulge their alpha-male fantasies leaving geeks even less appealing than ever before

* Our increasingly media saturated superficial world and growing winner-take-all globalized world leaves geeks increasingly locked out of mainstream opportunities of success (you'll never see another Aldalai Stevens POTUS candidate).

One benefit to geeks is the increased sorting that takes place economically, geographically, academically and technologically. For top talent geeks, one can happily exist in a self-selected world of similar value and individuals (sans women).

Globalization and self-imposed Western multiculturalism by elites also is creating a Balkanization. By destroying cultural norms and ethnic homogeneity, overall cultural commons, trust, and altruistic citizenship are lost but various factions can feel less estranged from the center.

alonzo portfolio said...

They dressed like nerds

What are you talking about? Do you mean neatly? Take a shave you damn slob - you might run into a sex life.

JSM said...

"Texting is much better in this case. More detailed plans, which cannot be sorted out by a couple of short texts, are still done by calling."

Cor, I take it you don't have teenagers. Mine text entire conversations back and forth. Before our phone plan included unlimited texting, my husband hit the roof when he saw my daughter's text message bill.

Is she a nerd? Not really. (She's quite cute.) She didn't even WANT to text at first, because it's a lot of work, but her friends dragged her into it.

Anonymous said...

@Fred

I'm pretty sure the two computer hackers in the original Matrix were played by actors who were White and Half Black/Half Chinese.

Anonymous said...

Globalization and self-imposed Western multiculturalism by elites also is creating a Balkanization. By destroying cultural norms and ethnic homogeneity, overall cultural commons, trust, and altruistic citizenship are lost but various factions can feel less estranged from the center.

Please explain.

International Jew said...

"Triumph of the nerds"? No such thing. Apart from Bill Gates, who? Brin, Page and Zuckerberg don't count; their companies are still too new, but the suits will take over sooner or later. I've worked in tech for a long time. The guys in charge have always had good haircuts, firm handshakes, varsity letters, and alpha-male bearing.

dcite said...

", because blacks represent cool and freedom from responsibility."


"Freedom from responsibility?" Does the good psychiatrist mean "irresponsible?" or perhaps, "Dependent?" "Childlike?" Cool because they depend on people who are responsible for all the material stuff that really makes them "cool?" Because they're not cool sitting in the gutter or mom's basement. Could be they are cool living in prison on the taxpayer's dime? There are blacks who would resent being considered that kind of cool, btw.
ATS, "if you are not a liberal in your 20s you have no heart; if you are not a conservative in your 40, you have no brain." Well, you have a brain, but it's weird.
A wee bit off topic, but I wish upon a star that Bill Ayres and/or Bernadette Dohrn would leave their brains to medical science, and that it would happen soon.

SFG said...

"The last paragraph of that story is mind boggling. Are trying to make out nerds as crypto-racists?"

Pretty much, yeah. Those people can't accept HBD no matter what.

Anonymous said...

What are Anglo-Saxons good at?

Garland said...

"perhaps because Latino culture isn't nerdy enough."

But isnt bermish black culture still going pretty strong? Stronger than ever even? Is it that latinos arent nerdy enough or that they are neither nerdy, bermishly charismatic, or any other strong type?

Whiskey said...

The Anglo-Saxon model is not cheap labor (or at least, not until say 1986 and IRCA). It has been expensive labor, and capital investment.

Udolpho.com said...

The rise of nerd culture can be perfectly explained by the Flynn Effect. Better nutrition keeps making people taller and smarter (especially at visual abstract reasoning) so we have a whole generation of computer geeks capable of working with gadgets on a level our grandparents could never dream of.

No. Nerd culture is pathological, with its infantile dress, eating habits, and recreation. It is regressive, and most nerds aren't very smart, they are simply socially maladroit and by dint of spending 10,000 hours in front of a computer they pick up a trick or two (but seldom more than that).

Nerd culture is telling you that something is going wrong (as with the general rise in social pathology). What it is most certainly not telling you is that we are enjoying the eugenic effects of a high tech, prosperous society. Quite the opposite.

That Pesky Little Footnote said...

The irony of wearing a Darwin shirt and having zero children.

^This.

To paraphrase Morgan Freeman quoting Tim Robbins quoting Steven King: "You can either get busy making children, or you can get busy going extinct."

Mankind's future is being created - in the here and now, as we speak - by the folks who are making the children.

Everyone else is no better than a footnote* in The Annals of Forgotten Time.





*And given that the Aboriginal Hispanics & the Negroes are not, on average, capable of sustaining a culture of literacy, ya' ain't even gonna get so much as a footnote: You're gonna be forgotten altogether...

Anonymous said...

Nerd is the new "N" word - a term of disparagement meant to assert our superiority over others.

When I was a manager of programmers I was always offended when the girls in marketing referred to my programmers as nerds. They typically had no real knowledge of art, music, literature, or history much less math and science but they like to imagine themselves to be on the sophisticated side of some great cultural gulf. They were girls with a fashion sense and little else, putting on airs.

Wikipedia says that a nerd is someone who is bookish and socially awkward. Socially comfortable people who don't read are salesmen at best although trucks need driving and ditches need digging too. Bookish people have a inner life that the hollow people who favor the term nerd, just can't fathom.

I'd like to talk with some of those poorly dressed Wikipedia people. I imagine that they might have something to say. People who like to call others nerds seems to be only saying: I'm superficial and boring.

Albertosaurus

Whiskey said...

Nerd Culture is not the reason for the lack of Latino influence on White culture. Rather, it is the overwhelming threat that Latino culture produces, basically pushing all other cultures out like say, Kudzu does other vegetation. In order for cross-cultural adoption to occur (like, say New Orleans 1870-1920, or Jazz Age NYC) each side must offer *something* to the other in the exchange.

The musical culture of Mexicans is moribund and repetitive compared to say, Cuban music (Ry Cooder did not travel to Mexico City to record his album). Its literature is not particularly robust or interesting. And Mexican nationalism simply precludes cultural adoption from White culture. There is no say, Mexicanizing Jane Austen, Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, Robin Hood, Twilight, or Superman. Quintessential Anglo creations, that remain very Anglo. Meanwhile Whites don't celebrate Day of the Dead because they find it creepy and icky.

Black musical creations borrowed heavily from European ones, and in return guys like Elvis synthesized danceable Western swing and Blues rhythms and soulfulness of Gospel (the latter itself a synthesis of West African call-response and European choral music).

But basically its just the numbers. Mexican numbers are so overwhelming that little cross-cultural adoption occurs.

Truth said...

"The willingness to loudly put forth crazy, corrupt or silly ideas in poor English isn't exactly charismatic, in my opinion."

Well that's exactly what Charisma is, Sport. The Romans considered Jesus charismatic, didn't they?

Whiskey said...

Let me add that the sex ratio of the Wiki folks is not favorable to the male nerds.

If (and it is) nerdy intelligence for things like Wiki is mostly heritable, we are seeing MASSIVE sexual/natural selection AWAY from that.

Challenge: which guy is going to have the most, and the most successful offspring (i.e. reproductive success)?

Charlie Sheen or a Wiki Nerd?
Antonio Cromartie (nine children with 8 women) or a Wiki Nerd?
Your basic Meth-dealing Biker, or a Wiki Nerd?
Your NYC Bike Courier, or a Wiki Nerd?

You get the picture. Intelligence among ALL groups will fall, and fall fairly quickly, because intelligence is an unattractive trait mostly in men, unless it is paired with social dominance. Generally, intelligence is fairly mutually exclusive with social dominance. This explains why Charlie Sheen remains a sex symbol for women and Mark Zuckerberg is basically a eunuch.

Whiskey said...

Or here is a thought experiment.

How many women will throw themselves at a grade-Z celebrity like say, Jared Leto or Russell Brand, vs. Mark Zuckerberg? Even though the latter is not married and has billions?

Truth said...

"The Anglo-Saxon model is not cheap labor (or at least, not until say 1986 and IRCA)."

Do you mean 1986 or 1586?

Truth said...

"When I was a manager of programmers I was always offended when the girls in marketing referred to my programmers as nerds...They were girls with a fashion sense and little else, putting on airs."

Were you offended before, or after you came onto them, Dos Equis?

(Just messin' with ya buddy.)

Frankfurt School Chav said...

What are Anglo-Saxons good at?

Gee I dunno - soccer hooliganism?

Certainly couldn't be the Natural Law or the Nature of the Divine or Anti-Legalism or Plain Old-Fashioned Calculus or First-Order Predicate Calculus or Elliptic Curves or Heavier-Than-Air Flight or simple Valor.

Nah, couldn't be any of those things.

Anonymous said...

trucks need driving and ditches need digging too

A -

Allow me to introduce you to MyTractorForum.Com.

There are some seriously smart, well-read, erudite dudes out there digging ditches.

[At least as hobbyists...]

Just Lawn and Garden Tractors by Brand alone is coming up on a MILLION reader posts.

Anonymous said...

"What are Anglo-Saxons good at?"

Sucking up to Jews, fleeing from blacks, being overrun by Mexicans, and acting more and more gay everyday.

Ramblin Thoughts... said...

Globalization and self-imposed Western multiculturalism by elites also is creating a Balkanization. By destroying cultural norms and ethnic homogeneity, overall cultural commons, trust, and altruistic citizenship are lost but various factions can feel less estranged from the center.

Please explain.


As American and Western society becomes more polyglot under the new religion of multicult tolerance, the center falls away.

There are fewer recognizable mainstream standards. The commoms starting with tax revenue become something to plunder for your narrow ethnic or other special interest group rather than support out of civic duty or general social advancement.

Much of the health care debate was about taking resources from working/retired produtive groups and giving them to other groups.

Another metric besides budgeting is who makes the sacrifices. How many elites have sons/daughters in the US military or even know anyone in the military. Like the dying Roman republic, our ruling elites hire lower class and foreign mercenaries (recent open door immigrants) to fight the wars they haven't have experience with for generations.

All polyglot empires in history have collapses when this Balkanization beomes too pronounced: Alexander the Great, Roman Empire, Byzantium, Ottoman Empire, USSR, Yugoslavia, etc.

In this emerging chaos, marginalized groups can at least feel less so as there is no one dominate standard they are at variance with.

For example, gays may feel less ostracized not living up to the old Ozzie and Harriet model. The odd thing is that gays probably face more threats from recent immigrant communities like Muslims and Latinos but chaf under them less because those are not the single established standard. A psychologocial gain for a personal loss.

Difference Maker said...

People who like to call others nerds seems to be only saying: I'm superficial and boring.

Although I've protected nerds from women (lol), nerds are hardly paragons of culture and pillars of civilization, except insofar as doing the white collar equivalent of menial work.

We need wise and honorable nobles and statesmen as the exalted highest order, not aspergic effeminates. While some nerds contribute to society, none including themselves I think would question the desirability of increasing their prosocial and masculine capabilities.

silly girl said...

"People who like to call others nerds seems to be only saying: I'm superficial and boring."


Thank you.

kurt9 said...

Do you think Jeff Greason represents nerd culture?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8PlzDgFQMM&feature=player_embedded

This strikes me as good old-fashioned pioneering and entrepreneurship. Do you think pioneering and entrepreneurship is a nerd thing? If so, why?

Do you think this is a nerd thing as well?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2vzotsvvkw

It seems to me that America would benefit from far more people like these two. Can anyone honestly disagree with me?

Anonymous said...

I live in the Bible-belt, and have never understood the view of blacks as being charismatic or entertaining. I've seen enough black preachers, politicians and entertainers to last four lifetimes, and charismatic isn't the word that often comes to mind. The willingness to loudly put forth crazy, corrupt or silly ideas in poor English isn't exactly charismatic, in my opinion.



Somebody like Sharpton or Rev Wright might be a little crazy, but you gotta admit they're pretty funny to watch and talk pretty well. During the Democratic conventions, blacks always seem to give the best speeches, at least in terms of entertainment value.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what a meeting of isteve readers would be like. I'm guessing very similar except more middle aged.

Anonymous said...

"People who like to call others nerds seems to be only saying: I'm superficial and boring."

Or themselves insecure. This thread seems like the gammas have found super gammas to beat down.

agnostic said...

Nerdiness is a disease of civilization, related to the lower violence rate. A higher rate selects for fighters (both as raiders and protectors), lovers (as people become more promiscuous), and idea people who focus on the universal, timeless, and sublime (not necessarily on an abstract level, since many primitive people don't engage in much abstract thought or speech).

We see this on several time-scales.

Hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, gardeners, and even settled farmers did not produce any autistics. That only starts to show up during the Age of Reason -- the broad shift that Greg Clark believes made industrialization possible.

Even among settled farmers, there's been a decline in violence rates since 1500-1600 in Western Europe. There were hair-splitting intellectuals before, but none who were so socially retarded and crippled. It's a modern thing.

Even within the secular decline in violence of the past 400-500 years, there have been waves up and down of violence. The triumph of nerds, relative to the nearby historical average, only shows up in periods of falling homicide rates:

There's a surge in homicide from 1580-1630, 1780-1830, maybe 1900-1933 (in America at least), and 1960-1990. In between those periods were the Scientific Revolution and Age of Reason, Victorian atomization and lionizing of science (recall the heyday of Darwinian thinking, especially applied to humans, was the late Victorian era), the 1930s-'50s golden age of men in white coats and pocket protectors, and lately the Revenge of the Nerds period of the past 20 years.

Lower violence levels and civilization bring good things with them, but we shouldn't overlook all the bad things that a sheltered life brings.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what a meeting of isteve readers would be like. I'm guessing very similar except more middle aged."

Hopefully there aren't any white men dressed in white robes.

agnostic said...

A better way to see this is how society dealt with nerds during rising-crime times.

For the past 20 years they've been embraced and even encouraged in their retarded ways -- don't change, don't mature out of it, etc.

But then look at the late '70s and especially the '80s when nerds wanted to better themselves, to go through a rite of passage that would turn them into normal, even accomplished people. And non-nerds were willing to see them through it, rather than let them wallow in perpetually stunted social growth.

Weird Science is only one of an endless series of such movies and TV shows. They don't end up as normal and popular kids with cute girlfriends because society learned to be more tolerant of nerdiness. Rather, they go through a rite of passage, culminating in driving out a band of violent thugs from their big house party.

Those movies aren't terribly enjoyable, but they're good for historical research on nerds. Even Skippy and Screech Powers tried to hang out with the normal people, mimic their ways, and get their friends to guide them from nerd to normal.

Marty McFly teaching his nerdy dad how to throw a punch, talk to girls, and speak with confidence, is another popular example. That was a different time.

Hapalong Cassidy said...

"Just as action movies have the black nerd computer hacker, I'm waiting for a movie to come out with a hispanic computer geek."

The Matrix had them.

4/25/11 4:40 AM

Fred, if you're thinking of the character from the original Matrix I'm thinking of, that actor (Julian Arahangha) was actually Maori. Easy enough mistake to make. Another Maori, Cliff Curtis (who Steve has mentioned on this blog) has made a career of playing menacing Hispanics, like Pablo Escobar in "Blow".

Fred said...

"I'm pretty sure the two computer hackers in the original Matrix were played by actors who were White and Half Black/Half Chinese."

You could be right about that. A quick check of IMDB doesn't show too many obviously Hispanic names in the cast.

""Triumph of the nerds"? No such thing. Apart from Bill Gates, who? Brin, Page and Zuckerberg don't count; their companies are still too new, but the suits will take over sooner or later. I've worked in tech for a long time. The guys in charge have always had good haircuts, firm handshakes, varsity letters, and alpha-male bearing."

The suit at Google (Eric Schmidt) just got kicked upstairs to executive chairman. Page is now the CEO. Mark Zuckerberg has been CEO of Facebook from the beginning -- extraordinary for a twenty-something, considering the Facebook's current valuation. As for varsity letters, Zuckerberg was captain of his fencing team in high school. And as for alpha male bearing, he seems pretty comfortable sharing a stage with the President of the U.S.

"Well that's exactly what Charisma is, Sport."

That's half of it. The other half is that people want to listen to you.

josh said...

B-b-but arent the best computer experts African American? (NOTE:I thought of this cuz I caught about 3 minutes of Jurassic Park recently. It was really good. I never saw it the 1st time around. Must get a hold of a copy and watch it. Samuel L Jackson was some kind of computer guy,which I guess started that trend. The villain is,of course,Newman.And what great casting,as he is the perfect villain:Hilariously fat,sneaky,manipulative,hostile,submissive and grovelling,yet defiant and egotistic. Hello,Newman!)

Anonymous said...

Those are ugly people.

Kylie said...

"'I wonder what a meeting of isteve readers would be like. I'm guessing very similar except more middle aged.'

Hopefully there aren't any white men dressed in white robes."


Apparently you are a little confused about just who comments here. I can assure you that a gathering of iSteve commenters would not look like this:

White Men in White Robes

Carol said...

I think it's important to distinguish, at the outset, the difference between nerds, geeks and spazzes. And dorks.

Laz said...

I didn't expect to see a girl in that picture. lol

Anonymous said...

Whiskey's actually right on this one.

A lot of guys seem to think that money = women. It's not so simple. If you work in tech fields, you probably know people who earn six figures but go home alone. Added to that, these days women are making as much if not more than men, leaving them free to chase alpha cock.

Even with I-bankers and Wall Street rollers it's complicated. They usually have a hard time getting into fancy NYC clubs. whereas good-looking penniless hipsters are whisked past the velvet ropes.

Ironically, girls would be more interested in the actor who played Zuckerberg(sp?) than the man himself, even with all those billions.

Actor = Superalpha.

Dotcom founder = Superbeta.

Anonymous said...

OT/trump wants obama's grades:

Today the entrepreneur offered no proof for his claim about Mr Obama's grades, but said he would continue to press the matter as he had the legitimacy of the president's birth certificate.
Mr Trump said: 'I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard? I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records.'
Mr Obama graduated from Columbia University in New York in 1983 with a degree in political science after transferring from Occidental College in California. He went on to Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude 1991 and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.
Mr Obama's 2008 campaign did not release his college transcripts, and in his best-selling memoir, Dreams From My Father, Mr Obama indicated he hadn't always been an academic star.

Mr Trump said Mr Obama's refusal to release his college grades was part of a pattern of concealing information about himself.
He added: 'I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can't get into Harvard.
'We don't know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president.'

Truth said...

"Sucking up to Jews, fleeing from blacks, being overrun by Mexicans, and acting more and more gay everyday."

LMAO. You forgot asking North Asians; "Do you want fries with that?"

Anonymous said...

Being a Wikipedia editor is arguably a valuable public service, but it's not exactly a tremendous achievement or something requiring a great deal of intelligence or skill. Remember that the most fundamental Wikipedia policy is "no original research". These guys take facts from "reliable sources" like books and newspapers and summarize them. It's menial grunt work. A good analogy would be people who volunteer to pick up garbage on beaches.

Udolpho.com said...

Wikipedia says that a nerd is someone who is bookish and socially awkward. Socially comfortable people who don't read are salesmen at best although trucks need driving and ditches need digging too. Bookish people have a inner life that the hollow people who favor the term nerd, just can't fathom.

lol am I being shitted here? do you really think that it is impossible to be intelligent and socially adept (i.e. non-nerdy)? and do you really think that social ineptitude is a marker for intelligence? while you don't come out and say these ridiculous things, this seems to be what is between the lines of this bizarre statement

and I think it's really bizarre when someone suggests the inner lives of nerds are anything but creepy and disgusting

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what a meeting of isteve readers would be like. I'm guessing very similar except more middle aged."

I would be their cult leader.

Deckin said...

Frankfurt School Chav:

At the risk of outing myself by practice, your link to Alonzo Church as 'discovering' predicate calculus is off. While Aristotle himself deserves some mention in that history (by recognizing the determiners 'all' and 'some'), it's to the German Frege that we owe the first mature understanding of quantification (ranging over variables), though even he has only the Universal quantifier (using De Morgan's and Double Negation to derive the equivalent of an Existentially Quantified statement).

If you'll call Frege an Anglo-Saxon, I can live with that.

David Davenport said...

This explains why Charlie Sheen remains a sex symbol for women

Is he?

I read somewhere that Charlie typically pays whores to come to his house.

Svigor said...

Maybe someone should teach these big-brains WTF neutral means.

Svigor said...

but I find that nerds lack courage and are unreliable, generally being pliable, or trying to be neutral, which is just a euphemism for taking the easy way out. Usually they try to be rebellious by proxy.

You're very right about their lack of courage, and pliability. Nerds tend to be uber PC, and political boot-lickers. And yeah, neutral only when it's the easy way out.

Svigor said...

It's more a giant binder than it is an encyclopedia with actual standards of scholarship.

By design. "No original research," right?

Anonymous said...

"Nerdiness is a disease of civilization..."

And people have the nerve to type that on a computer. How would you make your ideas widely known if nerds never existed? Battle drums? Nerdiness IS civilization. Normals are just hitching a ride.

"Hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, gardeners, and even settled farmers did not produce any autistics. That only starts to show up during the Age of Reason..."

Nonsense. Archimedes was described by the ancients who wrote about him in recognizably nerdy terms. He was killed during the Roman capture of Syracuse. It's said that instead of getting the hell out he was doing math up till the end. His reported last words to his killers were "do not disturb my circles". Most likely apocryphal, but the intent of this little ancient anecdote was clearly to illustrate the great man's nerdiness, unworldliness.

"...recall the heyday of Darwinian thinking..."

From the Wikipedia article about Darwin:

"Used to jotting down daily notes on animal breeding, he scrawled rambling thoughts about career and prospects on two scraps of paper, one with columns headed "Marry" and "Not Marry". Advantages included "constant companion and a friend in old age ... better than a dog anyhow", against points such as "less money for books" and "terrible loss of time".

Now tell us with a straight face that he wasn't a nerd.

"There were hair-splitting intellectuals before, but none who were so socially retarded and crippled. It's a modern thing."

Up until pretty recently Western parents exercised a lot of influence over their kids' marriages. Outside of royal families marriages weren't exactly arranged, but people couldn't marry without their parents' approval either. Obviously, girls' parents tend to prefer nerds to bad boys. Neither choice is ideal, but bad boys might as well be radioactive. And a nerd from a good family with old money would have beaten an average normal on any day in that sort of society.

So yes, for centuries on end in the West it was very possible to pass on a lack of social skills to one's kids. I'm sure that in China that's happening on a massive scale even now.

You've mentioned fighters. But somebody always had to plow the land, build houses, be competent at the technicalities of metalworking, plan ahead for the winter and for unforeseen disasters, be frugal and sensible. Civilized societies always had a need for some nerds.

Anonymous said...

I'm the reader that relayed the story to Steve. For what it's worth, I thanked the bunch of people in earshot for their efforts and said I've donated to Wikipedia (which is true) and I've gotten my money's worth, so to speak, from Wikipedia 1,000 times over (also true).

Sure a lot of the editors are super protective of their work and may have ideological axes to grind, but so what...The fact is that Wikipedia is still an AMAZING resource and an incredible accomplishment of humanity. But, holy smokes, geeky to the max.

Svigor said...

What I can't figure out is why we're apparently hardwired to prefer the image to the reality.

If we are, your example doesn't indicate so. Now, if you had a control group who had never watched television, but were somehow immune to novelty...

Think about it. TV is scripted. Produced. Directed. Cast. It's reality "perfected" and canned. It's not that we're hardwired to prefer TV to reality, it's that we're trained to. Novelty hooks 'em, and then the polish keeps them there. The former is probably hard-wired, since people are curious by nature, but the latter is learned.

Svigor said...

The willingness to loudly put forth crazy, corrupt or silly ideas in poor English isn't exactly charismatic, in my opinion.

Maybe the subterranean understanding is that blacks are charismatic "after correcting for IQ."

Svigor said...

Is "geek" really interchangeable with "nerd" now? I always thought of "geek" as referring to the incompetent and socially inept, vs. "nerd" as competent and socially inept.

IIRC, "geek" was originally the guy who bit the heads off chickens and such.

Anonymous said...

Ugly people in NYC? That's your first clue this is fake.

Svigor said...

I'm pretty sure the two computer hackers in the original Matrix were played by actors who were White and Half Black/Half Chinese.

Lol, so, not so much "Latino" as, "working on it."

What are Anglo-Saxons good at?

Creating societies that attract people like you.

Sucking up to Jews, fleeing from blacks, being overrun by Mexicans, and acting more and more gay everyday.

^^^ And him.

Well that's exactly what Charisma is, Sport. The Romans considered Jesus charismatic, didn't they?

...Fred beat me to it...

Fred said...

"Fred, if you're thinking of the character from the original Matrix I'm thinking of, that actor (Julian Arahangha) was actually Maori. Easy enough mistake to make. Another Maori, Cliff Curtis (who Steve has mentioned on this blog) has made a career of playing menacing Hispanics, like Pablo Escobar in "Blow"."

OK, looks like I was wrong about the Matrix (at least the first one).

Anonymous said...

Indians and Chinese are pretty nerdy. Last time I checked, both groups were doing pretty well. Except with the ladies.

Anonymous said...

The white alpha male is on the decline. Blacks are more athletic and confident than him. Nerds (especially Asians/Indian nerds) are taking his jobs in management, finance, law, and technology. Cheap labor Latinos are devaluing the hands-on manual work that he once did. Feminists and politicians degrade him at every opportunity.

Anonymous said...

At this point can we establish what a nerd is as opposed to a geek?

To me a geek is someone with real marketable skills but often characterized by nerdy social attributes. So geeks are often nerds.

A nerd otoh might have encyclopedic knowledge of Firefly but not be that bright. A nerd in nerds clothing.

So isnt really Steve really talking about the triumph of the geeks (nerdy geeks to be be precise) as nerds without geeky prowess are a dead end.

OlaAmigos said...

Philip Greenspun had an interesting article on science dudes, kind of interesting in regards to this discussion.

http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science

James Kabala said...

Like Svigor and unlike 7:05 Anonymous, I always thought of nerd as the less negative term of the two, the one more clearly implying intelligence as opposed to just weirdness. The exact meaning seems to vary from speaker to speaker - if there are regional patterns (a la soda/pop/coke), I don't know of any studies.

charlotte said...

"Although I've protected nerds from women (lol),"

really? what were the ladies going to do to them?

Anonymous said...

"Maybe the subterranean understanding is that blacks are charismatic "after correcting for IQ."

I doubt you are really into HBD if you can't see the charismatic results blacks can produce.

If you were something more than an aggrieved dorky white guy, and had real analytical ability you would notice a pattern.

Here's a surprising but not unexpected story of a black guy being the definition of charismatic:

"Could there be a more unlikely success story in the former Soviet Union than the Rev. Sunday Adelaja, an immigrant from Nigeria who has developed an ardent — and enormous — following across Ukraine?"
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/23/world/europe/23kiev.html?src=mv

Blacks are disproportionately able to persuade based on raw personality. I don't see how anyone claiming to be into HBD doesn't see this.

Fred said...

"I read somewhere that Charlie typically pays whores to come to his house."

As Charlie has explained, he doesn't pay them to come over (he can get women to do that for nothing). He pays them to leave.

charlotte said...

"Or here is a thought experiment.

How many women will throw themselves at a grade-Z celebrity like say, Jared Leto or Russell Brand, vs. Mark Zuckerberg? Even though the latter is not married and has billions?"

Lame challenge unless you have contact information for these gentlemen. oh--wait. They're on Facebook. It's a slow day and there's only few cool millions to lose. I'll go throw myself at them and see what happens.

Frankfurt School Chav said...

Okay, how about if I just say the Lambda Calculus?

Reincarnated by another Anglo-Saxon thusly?

Anonymous said...

"How many women will throw themselves at a grade-Z celebrity like say, Jared Leto or Russell Brand, vs. Mark Zuckerberg?"

Depends on the woman. Weirdly enough, young Asian women would overwhelmingly throw themselves at Zuckerberg. Obviously, one already has. I don't even think they need their families to tell them to do that. They do it of their own accord.

The 2002 Soccer World Cup was held in Japan and South Korea. I remember reading an article at that time about David Beckham's popularity in Japan. It said there that if Beckham was any sexier than he was, he would start creeping out Japanese women. Anything more macho than that wouldn't be attractive. So apparently there's an upper limit. And he's a pretty soft-spoken guy. High voice, typically English embarrassment about being praised in interviews.

Udolpho.com said...

How would you make your ideas widely known if nerds never existed? Battle drums? Nerdiness IS civilization. Normals are just hitching a ride.

Yes, without computers how did anyone communicate? What a brilliant point, the kind only a nerd can (or will) make.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, without computers how did anyone communicate? What a brilliant point, the kind only a nerd can (or will) make."

Telephones, radio, telegraph, semaphores - a long history of nerdiness.

Truth said...

The Romans didn't want to listen to Jesus, that's why they crucified him.

Democrats do want to listen to Al Sharpton, that's why they invite him to speak.

Truth said...

"I doubt you are really into HBD if you can't see the charismatic results blacks can produce. "

Well anonymous, the thing you learn after being here a while is that the phrases; "into HBD" and "family-name besmirching dumbass" are fairly well correlated.

Difference Maker said...

"Mark Zuckerberg has been CEO of Facebook from the beginning -- extraordinary for a twenty-something, considering the Facebook's current valuation."

The 20s are when the mind is sharpest and testosterone highest. Aged CEOs are respected because of the long struggle.

" As for varsity letters, Zuckerberg was captain of his fencing team in high school."

I did not know that. I have new respect. Although modern fencing is a greatly watered down and ritualized combat sport.

His girl is butt ugly however and he does not otherwise inspire.

Steve Sailer said...

John McCarthy, helluva guy.

Sounds more Celtic than Anglo-Saxon, though.

Difference Maker said...

You've mentioned fighters. But somebody always had to plow the land, build houses, be competent at the technicalities of metalworking, plan ahead for the winter and for unforeseen disasters, be frugal and sensible. Civilized societies always had a need for some nerds.

I agree, but the appearance of these traits need not confer nerdiness. I think you are contrasting too much with vibrant minorities.

These activities are largely of the masculine sphere of the mind, and denigrated by those who fear our power and avoid working with their hands.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, you did pick a slightly dorker than average picture to use as your example.

Here is a picture of the NY wikipedia group from Aug 2007: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/August_2007#Pictures

agnostic said...

"But somebody always had to plow the land, build houses, be competent at the technicalities of metalworking, plan ahead for the winter and for unforeseen disasters, be frugal and sensible. Civilized societies always had a need for some nerds."

So anyone other than a jock or warrior is automatically a nerd, huh? Self-worship doesn't get much more bald and retarded than that.

None of those jobs imply Asperger's, fear of girls, a 7-11 diet, etc.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous

The asian girls that tend to marry nerds aren't the hot ones. Have you seen Zuckerberg's girlfriend?

Anonymous said...

People say wiki geeks are ugly and unpleasant-looking, but did you look at most rock stars? If it weren't for their loud music and fashion sense, most of them would be funny-looking geeks. Imagine Mick Jagger, Coldplay guys, or Bono dressed up as computer operators. They'd look geeky and gimpy.

Svigor said...

The white alpha male is on the decline. Blacks are more athletic and confident than him. Nerds (especially Asians/Indian nerds) are taking his jobs in management, finance, law, and technology. Cheap labor Latinos are devaluing the hands-on manual work that he once did. Feminists and politicians degrade him at every opportunity.

Whites are a lot more masculine than yellows, and a lot more intelligent than blacks. So being edged out slightly at either end by either group ain't a big deal.

SFG said...

"None of those jobs imply Asperger's, fear of girls, a 7-11 diet, etc."

True, but men weren't expected to pick up women by simple force of charisma in the age of arranged marriages. And the 7-11 diet is a modern disease; the peasantry would have gotten fat if they could.

As for Asperger's, you could probably get away with not talking much and being a good craftsman 100 years ago. Now EVERYONE has to kiss the boss's ass.

(I've never understood the whole nerd-Ayn Rand thing. The free market's good for a lot of personality types, but not nerds.)

charlotte said...

"People say wiki geeks are ugly and unpleasant-looking, but did you look at most rock stars? If it weren't for their loud music and fashion sense, most of them would be funny-looking geeks. Imagine Mick Jagger, Coldplay guys, or Bono dressed up as computer operators. They'd look "

Bono? Bono! Are you insane? Bono is, well, was, gorgeous. Absolutely gob-smacking gorgeous. You can say anything you want about any of the others, but ...

oh...Bono. I was thinking you meant Bon Jovi.
Neeever mind.

Anonymous said...

That "Udolpho" poster is a creepy dork. His blog (that's right. He's a blogger nerd) is popular with eccentric dorky geeks with pretensions.

The few times I saw his blog Udolpho admitted that he enjoys playing Ghostbusters and Bioshock on his Xbox and that he read comic books in college. His rage over people giving the wrong answers on this board are typical of asperger dweebs. He's a weird guy.

Wandrin said...

"Blacks are disproportionately able to persuade based on raw personality. I don't see how anyone claiming to be into HBD doesn't see this."

That's nonsense. "Raw personality" just means being loud and insensitive and they're loud and insensitive because they're disproportionately unable to persuade in other ways. There is almost no venue outside the scriptd media where black people are good at persuasion other than through loud bullying.

Anonymous said...

Truth said:
Were you offended before, or after you came onto them, Dos Equis?

There's some truth here indeed. After the divorce I was celibate for a while but then I segued into manic promiscuity. I did in fact hit on a lot of women in the office. I became an embarrassment to myself and the butt of jokes. I cut it out - at the office that is.

Years earlier I was driving a female employee back from Sacramento and we got to talking. I casually mentioned a book I was currently reading. Her jaw dropped and she gasped; "You read mathematics, for pleasure"? She looked at me as if I were a bug.

Much of the perception of nerdiness is the shock of the so called normals to discover that there are others who think about things they don't understand. It is a term employed to ostracize others and preserve one's sense of self worth.

BTW I have been taste testing beers from my local super market. The best IMHO include Beck's, Anchor Steam, a couple of the Sam Adams brews, and Killian's Irish Red. The worst include Tsin Tao, and most of the Indian Pale Ales. I'm not surprised to find that the Germans make good beer but I was a bit surprised to learn that almost all of the Mexican beers (Modelo, Pacifico, Corona) are very good. The exception however is Dos Equis. It is just not an interesting beer.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"If it weren't for their loud music and fashion sense, most of them would be funny-looking geeks. "

So what's preventing geeks from having a fashion sense? Why do geeks insist on wearing white socks and denim shorts?

Anonymous said...

The concept of the nerd is an interesting example of practical epistemology.

Only a generation or two ago it was common for educated people to refer to others as "anally fixated". Alfred Hitchcock made films that could only be fully appreciated if you were well versed in Freudianism. A college friend once said about a TV scene where the hero remarks of how close his shave was by sagely muttering, "Hmm, ritual castration".

There never was much if any evidence for all the fanciful neuroses that Freud wrote about. Today such talk seems quaint. Asperger's syndrome strikes me me much the same way. It is an explanatory theory of great appeal but is there any underlying reality?

Pat Boone ascribed epilepsy to possession by demons. Even today probably more people know and believe that theory than know and believe the Asperger's theory. Majority rules?

There is too much blather about what makes you a nerd versus a geek. These terms are not denotative. They are not descriptions of reliable and stable phenomena. They are crude early tools to try to make sense of the variety of human behavior. Our progeny will laugh at us.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Why the regular, non-geeky kids of today text I have no idea. Perhaps it's just marketing - phone companies wanted to sell an extra service and, the young being sheep, they just got sold on the ads.

It's very fast and very direct. It's very male type communication in that sense - there's no female style indirection or tag questions or freeform aspect to it at all. That might be good when you want to arrange things.

Another way to phrase the question might be to question the enduring popularity of email, or even of comment boards or blogs - it's easy to think it's weird for youngsters like text messages - "The current generation is all Aspie", but why aren't we questioning why we send each other letters, just very quickly, or write down comments sequentially on a board, when we could be being led (by Steve for example) in a freeform discussion in real time, with present technology?

I think we'll find similar motives for these phenomena and I think, as I say in the first paragraph, its because we prize directness and speed and self pacing over the qualities of realtime discussion.

Fred said...

"But somebody always had to plow the land, build houses, be competent at the technicalities of metalworking, plan ahead for the winter and for unforeseen disasters, be frugal and sensible. Civilized societies always had a need for some nerds."

I'm not so sure they were nerds. There were priests, merchants, craftsmen/artisans, etc. Having technical knowledge doesn't necessarily make one a nerd (though thinking that might make you one).

Anonymous said...

most nerds aren't very smart, they are simply socially maladroit and by dint of spending 10,000 hours in front of a computer they pick up a trick or two (but seldom more than that)

I see this assertion quite a lot. Be interesting to throw IQ testing at batteries of children and pick out the self identified nerds. I'm pretty certain they'd be smarter.

I tend to buy the idea that yeah, they actually are far smarter - vocab is a pretty good measure of G, for example: http://isteve.blogspot.com/2007/08/nyt-says-nerds-are-hyperwhite.html

"They often favor Greco-Latinate words over Germanic ones (“it’s my observation” instead of “I think”), a preference that lends an air of scientific detachment. They’re aware they speak distinctively, and they use language as a badge of membership in their cliques."

I think the true state is that nerds are smarter than the unselected group of non-nerds, but that there are subsets of non-nerds as smart or smarter than them. Are members of the group of nerds smarter than non-nerd lawyers who are into theatre (for an example group)? Probably not. But in terms of social dynamics it comes down to which is more numerous - at the moment I think the most numerous smart group are the nerds. And I'm honestly not that unhappy with that.

Mankind's future is being created - in the here and now, as we speak - by the folks who are making the children.

Who says anything about mankind? You think these people desire children of the flesh? If they spawn the machine children they want, then mankind's future is the footnote.

Well that's exactly what Charisma is, Sport. The Romans considered Jesus charismatic, didn't they?

Jesus used poor English?

Anonymous said...

@Svigor:

"Whites are a lot more masculine than yellows, and a lot more intelligent than blacks. So being edged out slightly at either end by either group ain't a big deal."

Insecure much?

"a lot" "a lot" "edged out slightly" :-)

Anonymous said...

"Well that's exactly what Charisma is, Sport. The Romans considered Jesus charismatic, didn't they?"

Do we now define charisma as being mouthy, flamboyant and ignorant?

I grew up in the black mecca of Atlanta, and every mayor during my lifetime, and most major politicians, have been black. I've seen my fair share of black politicians, preachers and entertainers, and mouthy, flamboyant and ignorant, along with corrupt and bigoted describes most of them. Surely there has to be a better word than charismatic to describe people like Bill Campbell, Maynard Jackson, Shirley Franklin, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the usual cast of charismatic blacks.

I'd even say that demagogue is a better label than charismatic, since the real influence of black personalities is mostly in black communities--and it's usually an ugly scene from a white perspective.

MLK is a media constructed cult of personality, and Obama's success was probably due more to the combination of the self-congratulation of do-gooder whites for voting for a black, the loathing of Bush and the joke that is John McCain.

I'd say that most non-blacks find blacks to be too different to relate to as charismatic, and that is especially true on a personal level. It takes a lot of media manipulation to pass off an Obama, Sharpton or Jesse Jackson to the public at-large.

Kylie said...

"IIRC, 'geek' was originally the guy who bit the heads off chickens and such."

Yep, like the geeks in Nightmare Alley. They were dipsomaniacs who'd bite the heads off live chickens for "a bottle a day and a place to sleep it off".

Kylie said...

@ Ramblin Thoughts,

Your explanation beginnning "As American and Western society becomes more polyglot under the new religion of multicult tolerance, the center falls away" was just beautiful.

If my college lecturers had rambled like that, I never would have dropped out.

Kylie said...

"'What I can't figure out is why we're apparently hardwired to prefer the image to the reality.'

If we are, your example doesn't indicate so. Now, if you had a control group who had never watched television, but were somehow immune to novelty..."


I'm sure we could find plenty of humans are have never watched television but good luck finding any who are immune to novelty.

"TV is scripted. Produced. Directed. Cast. It's reality 'perfected' and canned. It's not that we're hardwired to prefer TV to reality, it's that we're trained to."

Not sure what you mean here. The televised program I was referring to was just a televised image of a teacher in real time as that teacher stood beside the set. That's not perfected and canned as I understand those terms.

In any case, I deeply distrust TV and am so glad I convinced my bigger half to drop our cable package. I don't miss it a bit and am surprised to find I feel better without it. I do use my television to watch movies, though.

Anonymous said...


BTW I have been taste testing beers from my local super market. The best IMHO include Beck's, Anchor Steam, a couple of the Sam Adams brews, and Killian's Irish Red. The worst include Tsin Tao, and most of the Indian Pale Ales. I'm not surprised to find that the Germans make good beer but I was a bit surprised to learn that almost all of the Mexican beers (Modelo, Pacifico, Corona) are very good. The exception however is Dos Equis. It is just not an interesting beer.



Wow, you have horrible taste in beer. Beck's? Corona?!?

Anonymous said...

West Side Story - a musical about Latino vibrancy written and choreographed by 3 gay closeted Jewish men.

Anonymous said...

Unintentionally funny post from Udolpho's blog from some dweeb who calls himself emo slavophile (Really. He calls himself that.)

Here it is (take note of this nerds awkward lack of self awareness:

Sailer's commenters are a dependable mine of hilarious goonisms. I'm not sure why, maybe nerds (especially of the trivia-cataloging, wiki-editing anorak variety) imagine something flattering in the HBD movement's emphasis on - and overvaluing of - abstract intelligence. The latter is a prominent reason why HBD has never quite appealed to me...as if raising IQs alone will cure what ails the world.

For instance, can you believe this example was only the second comment in that thread:

Quote
It is logical that our medial and digital age would lead to the incompatible combination of nerds running the system, whilst bosomed, blond bimbos dominate the human interfaces (TV/Video anchors).
It has everything...the odd syntax ('it is logical that...incompatible combination'), use of quaint words like whilst and bosomed, nerd power fantasies, resentment toward attractive women, etc.



You'd think the above quote came from a guy who is just clowning around. He's actually being sincere. But that is how all of the posters over at My Posting Career act. It's a funny website because it attracts "superior" nerds who have tragically convinced themselves that they are normal. Let one of those types of 'spergs go off for a few posts and you have yourself some good comedy.

Truth said...

"It takes a lot of media manipulation to pass off an Obama, Sharpton or Jesse Jackson to the public at-large."

Then who, pretel, do you conside charismatic?

Udolpho.com said...

lol if you refer to people as "normals" there is a good chance you lack a personality

many commenters at Sailer are extremely vested in their nerd personas, which is why posts like this always elicit so much insecure posturing about vapid sluts who don't understand them and the triumph that nerds experience why performing their extremely high status but mysteriously low paying computer janitor jobs

and fyi, "emo slavophile" is a guy in CA who would have your girlfriend on her back inside of ten minutes while you watch mournfully from the sidelines

TAO said...

Wow, apparently that MyPostingCareer thread hit close to home.

What is it? Mad because some people know that memorizing random Wiki facts and playing DnD with friends during the weekend instead of football doesn't make someone intelligent?

Sorry about your overman aspirations, bros. It ain't easy being a meta-nerd.

Fred said...

"Asperger's syndrome strikes me me much the same way. It is an explanatory theory of great appeal but is there any underlying reality?"

There's a drama on NBC called Parenthood about an extended family living in Berkeley or thereabouts. One of the couples in the show has a kid with Asperger's. Judging by his behavior, "Asperger's" seems to be a synonym for "unbelievably obnoxious". The parents (and grandparents, aunts and uncles) have the patience of Job with this kid. One wonders whether the cure for Asperger's wouldn't be good old fashioned ass-whipping.

BTW, there are a few other aspects about Parenthood that Steve & his readers might find interesting:

*The ignorance or deliberate blurring of ethnic differences in casting. The actors cast as adult siblings look nothing alike (e.g., the black Irish Lauren Graham as the sister of the Scandinavian Erika Christensen, in a family described by one of the characters as "40% Jewish" ethnically). The actors cast as Graham's kids look ethnically plausible, but the daughter is about a standard deviation shorter than you might expect given that Graham is about 5'9", and the actor playing the girl's father is 6'4". A couple of the other kids (including the Asperger's boy) look much swarthier than their parents.

*The portrayal of black characters that seems as if the show's writers have little first hand contact with blacks. One of the adult Braverman siblings, for example, found out that he had a six year old son with an old girlfriend, a black dancer (not a stripper, some kind of artsy dancer). From the dancer's articulate, church-going mother, it's clear these are supposed to be middle class, Christian blacks. Which makes the names of the dancer girlfriend and son -- "Jasmine" and "Jabbar" -- seem slightly ridiculous.

Another implausible black character is the 19 year old recovering alcoholic man who manages a soup kitchen and dates a daughter of one of the Braverman couples.

Anonymous said...

"Nerd culture is pathological, with its infantile dress, eating habits, and recreation. It is regressive, and most nerds aren't very smart, they are simply socially maladroit and by dint of spending 10,000 hours in front of a computer they pick up a trick or two"

Says the soft, frail, childless man in his fifties who spends six hours a night trolling the internet.

Truth said...

"and fyi, "emo slavophile" is a guy in CA who would have your girlfriend on her back inside of ten minutes while you watch mournfully from the sidelines"

Uh, oh, I feel a challenge coming on between you and Udolpho, Sport. You and your girlfriend have to fly out to CA and spend a night with emo slob or whatever, if he beds her, you pay for the trip, if not Udo does!

Udolpho.com said...

apparently some people are quite sensitive about their lifestyles as obese, dysfunctional adult children

and we call these people "nerds"

Anonymous said...

Udolpho wrote: apparently some people are quite sensitive about their lifestyles as obese, dysfunctional adult children and we call these people "nerds"


Uh, that's not completely true my friend. A nerd can be an accomplished man who doesn't play video games or read comic books. You want to create some sort of separate category for guys who can think abstractly and thirty year old geeky men who can't wait to see that new Transformers movie. Sorry. That's just not the way it is. A nerd is a nerd and YOU are a NERD. Ask any random person if you're a nerd and they will tell you that you are. If you say you aren't they'll just laugh at you and slap that can of Mountain Dew out of your hands. Just deal with it and stop being insecure because frankly that's embarrassing.

You admitted on your blog that you like to play video games like Bioshock and (snicker) Ghostbusters. Let me ask you a question, blogger boy. Do you get excited when they play the theme from Ghostbusters in that game? Do you really feel that you're fighting ghosts and stuff? LOL!

Stop posting your childish tantrums on this website and go back to twiddling your joystick, game boy.

Anonymous said...

A good looking guy into computers is called a nerd. A nerd in the rock scene is called a star.

David Davenport said...

... the Indian Pale Ales

Try Sierra Nevada pale ale.

Dr. Stephen J. Krune III said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Udolpho.com said...

You admitted on your blog that you like to play video games like Bioshock and (snicker) Ghostbusters. Let me ask you a question, blogger boy. Do you get excited when they play the theme from Ghostbusters in that game? Do you really feel that you're fighting ghosts and stuff? LOL!

are you for real? does this approach ever produce results?

(by the way for your tryhard riffing on Ghostbusters to produce results, you'll have to tie it into something embarrassing like photos of me dressed as Peter Venkman or my Ford Probe Ghostmobile...millions of people like that movie, it's considered ordinary)

none of the above said...

Is a nerd someone without social skills, or someone smart who finds math and science and technology interesting? Or someone who finds other nerdy things (SF, comic books, complicated elaborate games, computers) interesting?

If the first, then nerds have been with us forever (talent for reading and responding to social situations is probably distributed in a way not unlike intelligence--a bell curve, but with the left tail fattened by some people with some pattern of social-skill problems that goes beyond just ending up on the left tail of the distribution). Some occupations require super sharp social skills--you're probably not going to see a lot of salesmen with Aspergers. Others don't--historically, smart people with lousy social skills have often ended up as engineers or scientists, because those fields demand intelligence, but also don't demand great social skills. Programming is another field like that. I don't know what dumb people with lousy social skills end up doing.

If the second, then as someone else said, human progress is largely based on nerds. (But then you've got to call someone like Ben Franklin a nerd, which doesn't quite ring true.)

If the third, then nerdiness has become mainstream. SF and comic books are the basis for all kinds of movies, mostly pretty bad, some fairly good.

One thing I suspect has changed over time: as nerdiness has become more acceptable socially, more people are willing to be openly nerdy in their interests, appearance, and lifestyle. Just as many a closet atheist went to church every Sunday when that was the price of admission to polite society, many a closet nerd made small-talk about football or the weather when he'd have preferred to be talking about Star Trek or the latest Heinlein novel. And in both cases, it's not longer necessary to pretend, and so many people don't.

I'm entirely capable of chatting about normal interests, and do with my neighbors from time to time. But when I'm with my work friends, all nerds by definition #2, many by definitions #3 and #1, we have much more interesting conversations about politics, science, history, technology, the news, etc.

Anonymous said...

Sounds more Celtic than Anglo-Saxon, though.

Well there's a real can of worms for you.

BTW, Duns is just outside of Northumbria, so Scotus may have had some Danish blood in him [to go with the Pictish].

But Duns is also pretty far east, so I don't know what he would have had in the way of Dal Riatan ancestry.

Anonymous said...

Udolpho-- millions of people like that movie, it's considered ordinary)

Sad.

dcite said...

"I'd say that most non-blacks find blacks to be too different to relate to as charismatic, and that is especially true on a personal level. It takes a lot of media manipulation to pass off an Obama, Sharpton or Jesse Jackson to the public at-large."

That's my take too. Blacks we would find charismatic would probably not be popular in their own race.
The word charisma was first widely used for JFK, comparing him with Nixon. Before 1960 "youthful, handsome and charming" would have sufficed. But the media age was on, and new words were pressed into service. Charisma evoked, more than anything, something mysterious and ineffable, hiding in plain sight. The charismatic individual speaks volumes with but few, well-chosen words rather than saying little with many, meaningless words he scarcely understands. A charismatic man does not require a constant teleprompter but is capable of conversing intelligently on subjects about which he should know, and know well.
His is a personality--as opposed to mere looks--that seems more entrancing and beautiful than the normal person.
Before the 60s were over, they started using "charismatic" for people like Charles Manson, and you knew it was all over for that brave new word. Inevitably it was applied to the lowest of cultural icons.
As far as the preachers and pols sited as examples, they are not charismatic. They're just loud and in your face, doing what comes naturally, and low in any detectable intellect. Do they make you want to know more about their inner workings? Do they seem to hold some secret to the universe? Is your imagination awakened by their subtle, poetic rhetoric? Do you aspire to be like them? If all this is true for you, then maybe they are "charismatic." For you.

As for the black Russian, naturally he stands out where he is, and since he's only one, he probably does what he can to please the majority. Perhaps he is charming to them and appears to have their interests at heart. Why else does a politician run, right? As long as there's just one of him, voting him into "power" is just an amusing pc exercise, much promoted even there. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the same media-brokers that put Obama where he is, aren't doing the same thing elsewhere for reasons of their own.
Mae West hands her mink to the coat-check girl who exclaims, "My goodness what a coat!
Mae West, "Goodness had nothing to do with it."
Substitute charisma for goodness and you get the picture.

Truth said...

"Is a nerd someone without social skills, or someone smart who finds math and science and technology interesting?"

Nerds are kind of like Jazz; if you have to ask what they are, you'll never know.

Anonymous said...

"Then who, pretel, do you consider charismatic?"

Ronald Reagan was charismatic. He supported massive government spending and growth for the military, and the amnesty that got the ball rolling. Still many Americans who consider themselves cultural conservatives, who support law-and-order, traditional values and smaller government claim to be waiting for the next Reagan. Go figure!

I haven't checked today, but are flags flying at half staff after the passing of Hubert Schlafly? Maybe he'll be the second individual with a national holiday in his honor.

Anonymous said...

Udolpho is an intersesting character. Him and his entourage seem obsessed with seeking out and mocking nerds/geeks/dorks or goons as they say. Not that theres anything wrong with that. I figure he's a much higher functioning nerd who is disgusted by the worst aspects of nerdiness he has witnessed on the internet.

SFG said...

"Udolpho is an intersesting character. Him and his entourage seem obsessed with seeking out and mocking nerds/geeks/dorks or goons as they say. Not that theres anything wrong with that. I figure he's a much higher functioning nerd who is disgusted by the worst aspects of nerdiness he has witnessed on the internet."

I think he works in IT. If he's a very normal, un-nerdy guy, the Aspergers would annoy him more.

Of course, I'm a nerd, so I'm rooting for the geeks at his job to dip him in a giant vat of Mountain Dew and leave him in front of a TV set watching the entire original Star Trek series. Just like any Red Sox fan despising the Yankees. I gotta root for my team, you know? ;)

kurt9 said...

I don't know if this is a nerd thing or not. But something that irritates me endlessly about IT and software people is their pointless screwing around. Hardware engineers, say, a materials science engineer or an aircraft designer design and make changes in their designs for sound engineering reasons. Products from these industries do not change unless their is a real improvement in the technology. For example, gas turbine generators remain the same for years at at time.

Software and IT people, on the other hand, do all kinds of pointless screwing around and change software and websites all the time when there is either superficial improvements or no improvements at all. The constant updating you always have to do with the OS and applications, even for minor changes, is an example of this.

Software and IT people seem to have fundamentally different worldviews than, say, a rocket engineer or a materials science engineer. This makes such people highly annoying.

kurt9 said...

Another difference between real (hardware) engineers and software/IT people is that real engineers tend to have real lives. They are often married with or without kids. If not married or without kids, they still have well-rounded lives with hobbies and sports. They might do wind-surfing, rock climbing, or tinkering with motorcycles in their garage.

In other words, such engineers have a life. Software/IT geeks do not.

SFG said...

"Software and IT people, on the other hand, do all kinds of pointless screwing around and change software and websites all the time when there is either superficial improvements or no improvements at all. The constant updating you always have to do with the OS and applications, even for minor changes, is an example of this."

I think this has more to do with the industry business model. They could theoretically make a product that would last for years, but it's more money for them to force you to keep upgrading--and Microsoft's monopoly power lets them do it.

"Another difference between real (hardware) engineers and software/IT people is that real engineers tend to have real lives. They are often married with or without kids. If not married or without kids, they still have well-rounded lives with hobbies and sports. They might do wind-surfing, rock climbing, or tinkering with motorcycles in their garage."

I think that may be more of a blue/red state thing. Windsurfing and rockclimbing are easier to do in rural areas for the obvious reasons.

You might have the same genotype expressing different phenotypes in different areas. Sensitive artsy types might write country songs in a red state and rock songs in a blue state, for example. "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys" made this clear to me--"he'd rather write you a song than buy you silver or gold". The 'cowboy' is, in fact, an artist, though of course he'd never call himself such a sissy thing. But country songs can nonetheless be quite emotionally powerful.

kurt9 said...

I think that may be more of a blue/red state thing. Windsurfing and rockclimbing are easier to do in rural areas for the obvious reasons.

Maybe not. The coastal pacific northwest is very blue (I mean, it doesn't get more blue than Seattle) with lots of SWPL's hanging about. Yet, it also a big scene for outdoor sports. Same with California.

Also, I lived in the most crowded, zoo-like city in the world, Tokyo, and I managed to do lots of hiking, climbing, and other outdoor activities.

Miguel Madeira said...

"kurt9 said...

I don't know if this is a nerd thing or not. But something that irritates me endlessly about IT and software people is their pointless screwing around. Hardware engineers, say, a materials science engineer or an aircraft designer design and make changes in their designs for sound engineering reasons. Products from these industries do not change unless their is a real improvement in the technology. For example, gas turbine generators remain the same for years at at time.

Software and IT people, on the other hand, do all kinds of pointless screwing around and change software and websites all the time when there is either superficial improvements or no improvements at all. The constant updating you always have to do with the OS and applications, even for minor changes, is an example of this.

Software and IT people seem to have fundamentally different worldviews than, say, a rocket engineer or a materials science engineer. This makes such people highly annoying.

4/27/11 2:39 PM
kurt9 said...

Another difference between real (hardware) engineers and software/IT people is that real engineers tend to have real lives. They are often married with or without kids. If not married or without kids, they still have well-rounded lives with hobbies and sports. They might do wind-surfing, rock climbing, or tinkering with motorcycles in their garage."

Probably both differences are the same difference - my theory: "IT engineers" are nor really "engineers", they are more of the "thinker"/"intelectual" type (the kind of person who, in other times, will be a mathematician or a philosopher, or even a scientist, but not an engineer); because the favorite hobby of this people is to think, they are allays thinking in changes to do in the OS, in the wikipedia article, etc. And, exactly because that, they are relatively low interested in things like sports or hobbies (unless these hobbies are of the extreme intellectual type, like strategy games or something).

ATBOTL said...

I get the sense that a lot of people here men in their 50's who are pretty clueless about younger people. Playing XBOX does not make you a nerd. Texting has nothing to do with nerdiness.