The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'geek'

2013/4/25

Today in geek misogyny:

anonymous culture geek mens rights misogyny occupy wikipedia 0

2012/6/27

Let Us Put An End To “Geek Pride”, a Tyler Durdenesque rant against the recent wave of ‘geek’ triumphalism:

A subculture is not a counterculture. A consumer culture is not a subculture. We are not all in this together. Your social Laws (Godwin's, etc.) are as insipid as any aphorism your grandmother might have cross-stitched and put on display two generations ago. What you think is cool is not cool. What you decide is uncool is also uncool. Your counter-snobbery is snobbery. Your snobbery is snobbery. You do not rule the world. Obama flashing a Vulcan salute does not mean that you rule the world.
How much money you now make because you took the "hard" courses in school doesn't matter either. Not to anyone else, anyway. Not everyone who likes the same TV show as you is a member of your "family." Not everyone who likes that TV show less is a terrible person, or bland, or foolish. It's a TV show. It exists to compel you to send a company money, or to convince you to watch an ad. When it becomes less effective at doing this, it will go away.
You cannot lash your small self to some larger thing and thus enlarge yourself. Especially not when the larger thing you've lashed yourself to is "geekdom." Enough, enough, enough.

culture geek 1

2009/12/18

2009/1/12

Germany's Potsdam University is offering its computer science master's degree students a new subject: a practical course in flirting skills, ostensibly designed to improve students' social skills and ability to operate in the real world:

The 440 students enrolled in the master's degree course will learn how to write flirtatious text messages and emails, impress people at parties and cope with rejection.
Philip von Senftleben, an author and radio presenter who will teach the course, summed up his job as teaching how to "get someone else's heart beating fast while yours stays calm."
(Ah, those Germans: they even make the sport of love sound like a duelling society...)

Of course, the idea of flirting courses for compulsively-systematising geeks is not a new one, though they have usually consisted of sneaky hacks for getting laid, typically boiling down to embedding subliminal messages in one's speech, surreptitiously pointing to one's crotch and going to bars wearing ridiculously flamboyant boots and a LED belt buckle to get attention. It's not clear whether the Potsdam course will follow in this vein.

(via /.) cs education geek germany sex society 0

2008/11/11

The latest in the line of "Stuff (group) Like" blogs is Stuff Geeks Love, which mentions things like "zombies", "Libertarianism", "cancelled TV shows" and "sex", and shines a revealing yet harsh light on stereotypical "geek" obsessions:

Comic book geeks are especially prone to faux boycotts. Every week hundreds of comic book fans declare that, because of some perceived outrage, they will never buy anything from DC or Marvel again. And the following week they proceed to do so because otherwise their runs on titles will be incomplete and because what else are they supposed to do? They’ve been reading X-Men since they were nine and aren’t going to stop now! Within weeks of the “true fan” declaring that he’ll never buy another Marvel comic again he’ll proudly declare victory for Marvel when an issue of their current “event” comic sells a few dozen more issues than an issue of DC’s current “event” comic.
It’s not surprising geeks have affection for zombies; these creatures are arrested in their existence, unable to change or grow. Geeks feel a oneness with them. And although zombies are frightening to look at, they don’t seem on the surface to be a serious threat, but their numbers and sheer tenacity make them possibly the most sinister killers of all. This is another thing geeks like to think they feel a oneness with; the underestimated lethal threat. Also, zombies desire, above all else, brains.
Geeks enjoy being Libertarians for two reasons. First, it allows them to be Conservative without having to belong to one of the two mainstream parties that the regular sheep are part of. Second, it gives them a political party that is just as self-absorbed as they are. Conservatives don’t care if you think they’re selfish pricks. Libertarians wonder why you don’t admire them for it.
Having a show canceled also has another upside for the geek. If it’s no longer in production, all those meddling writers, producers, actors, and studios can’t “mess it up” for him by having things happen on the show that blatantly contradict the obvious “right way” things would happen, were the geek in charge. It saves him the later trouble of having to declare he’s going to boycott the show (he won’t) because someone on the show did something that was “totally out of character”. It puts the show into a little snowglobe the geek can cradle and protect from the cruel outside world. The geek and his friends now own and control it and it is finally where it belongs, in the hands of the “true fans”.

blogs culture geek humour sarcasm satire society 0

2008/5/30

Nerdcore hip-hop has made it into the Graun:

Obviously, that doesn't mean there were only eight people rapping on nerdy themes. Jazzy Jeff was doing just that a full two decades ago, and the lineage runs through MC Paul Barman, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, various Madlib and Kool Keith projects and even Lupe Fiasco. Yet these aren't nerdcore artists, not least because they never claimed to be; nerdcore, Frontalot tells me, is strictly an "opt-in identity".
In Nerdcore for Life, MC Chris makes a similar point, noting that mainstream hip-hop is getting geekier, to the point where even Jay-Z records now contain references to comic books and superheroes. High-C takes the argument even further: "The whole definition of a nerd is expanding. Everybody in the US uses computers, a great many of them play video games, and comic books are really coming back for adults. So there's a little bit of nerd in us all."
Not surprisingly, nerdcore hip-hop has its critics. Some people think it's all a joke or a parody, and others regard it as inherently racist, being white people mocking black culture for their amusement. That claim, though, is predicated on the assumptions that (a) hip-hop is exclusively black culture and when white people do it, they're appropriating a black identity (which, given that there's a generation of non-Afro-American people who grew up listening to NWA and Public Enemy (not to mention the Beastie Boys) and for whom, hip-hop is pop music, seems a little naïve), and (b) that nerdcore is a joke or gimmick, like a Weird Al Yankovic novelty record or office gangsta Herbert "H-Dog" Kornfeld, rather than an authentic cultural expression from people within both the hip-hop and geek cultures:
Dan Lamoureux, whose Nerdcore For Life depicts black and Asian as well as white nerdcore artists, responds thus: "I spent more than two years studying nerdcore, and never once did I encounter anyone that I thought was trying to insult or disparage people of another race. The genre is not a parody. A lot of the music is very witty, but the primary goal isn't to make people laugh. I think that the confusion comes from the antiquated and prejudiced assumption that hip-hop is 'black' music and shouldn't be attempted by people of other races. The whole point of hip-hop is that it's supposed to be the voice of the people. It's evolved into a truly global art form, and the music is so ubiquitous that it's even permeated into geek culture."
Indeed, if a key tenet of hip-hop is "keeping it real", then a fantasy obsessive is being less true to the genre by pretending to have more bullet scars than 50 Cent than he is by rapping about Lord of the Rings. Though admittedly, Lords of the Rhymes, who in Nerdcore for Life do exactly that while dressed in Middle Earth costumes, remain on the wrong side of the crucial distinction made in the same film by MC Lars: between being "fun" but still being taken seriously, and being "funny", and hence perceived as a joke.

authenticity culture geek hip-hop music nerdcore subculture 2

2008/5/22

US author Benjamin Nugent has written a book titled "American Nerd", about how the nerd/geek stereotype was adopted as a badge of hipster identity:

Being sixteen, I thought to myself: How do I rebel against this? How does my generation do something new? How do we construe this epoch as a rotting husk adrift on dark waters, so thatwe can make our own creative endeavors seem romantic? One answer is purism. When eclecticism is your parents’ thingyou revisit old genres and deliberately maintain their integrity (these genres may have once themselves been considered hybrids, but a really long time ago). Freak folk is the rock-criticism name for my generation’s exploration of folk music. New garage means my generation’s take on mid-1960s guitar rock. Nu wave means my generation’s take on early punk and new wave. In these albums, there is no hip-hop or jazz or Texas swing or house or any of the other flavors previous generations loved to mix. The sort-of-true clichés about what hipsters like—trucker caps, mustaches, Pabst Blue Ribbon, mullets—play with the idea of old school. They connote sophistication and cosmopolitanism by screaming, “We are not cosmopolitan! We are not culturally sophisticated!” This is an anti-Bobo trend, and one aspect of it is the flowering of nerdiness as an aesthetic.
Nugent cites Norman Mailer's The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster, and posits the analogy between the Afro-American stereotype of the 1950s and the nerd stereotype of today. Part of this is as a sort of Rousseauvian noble savage, unsullied by sophistication, and thus all the more valuable for sophisticates to appropriate the identity of. Part has to do with the treadmill of commodification, where things that were once signifiers of being on the cultural forefront get marketed to the mainstream and become ubiquitous, and those genuinely at the forefront have to do something different to differentiate themselves from the suburban consumers wearing their old costumes, hence adopting outsider identities. The fact that the outsider identity is considered deeply uncool by the mainstream (consider all the hipsters with rustic-looking beards making primitive folk music on their iBooks, when the trendies are into angular, skinny-legged indie rock that sounds like The Clash or whatever and the mainstream are into thugged-out commercial hip-hop) also helps; and it also has a useful peacock-tail effect, demonstrating one's fitness through an act of stylistic bravado, and essentially saying "I'm so with-it that I can afford to do this", or perhaps "I know something you don't":
Dressing like a punk was not a solution. Everyone knew that aesthetic was helping to move twenty-dollar Warped Tour tickets. There was no reason to even consider hip-hop; nobody who lived in a city with cable television and billboards could doubt that was a movement working in collusion with business culture to sell suburban teenagers stuff, even if was admirably forthright of rappers to dress like gay Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton executives and sing about how purely commercial their motives were. Of course in all of these movements, hip-hop included, there were artists in garrets, making music for the music, but nobody wanted to run the risk of being mistaken for one of the kids who fell for the marketing.
Of course, the idea of hipsters and trendies adopting the "nerd"/"geek" identity (which, apparently, consists of wearing prominent spectacles and cardigans) does sound somewhat absurd; a bit like that article from some years ago that said that the "intelligent" look was in in Los Angeles, and consequently the glamorous people were buying books and carrying them around, unread, as fashion accessories. Or will the behavioural trappings of nerdiness become de rigeur amongst the cool set? Will Dungeons & Dragons or vintage video games become essential subjects to mention to enhance one's coolness, much like krautrock or Donnie Darko? Will we eventually see replica Curta calculators for sale alongside Lomo cameras at hipster lifestyle accessory shops?

(via MeFi) culture fashion folk geek geek chic hipsters 1

2006/7/24

Something worth reading for anyone involved in issues of online freedom/surveillance/copyright laws/digital rights: 95 Theses of Geek Activism:

1. Reclaim the term 'hacker'. If you tinker with electronics, you are a hacker. If you use things in more ways than intended by the manufacturer, you are a hacker. If you build things out of strange, unexpected parts, you are a hacker. Reclaim the term.
15. The true enemy is the line: "If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you fear?" The problem with that line, as Schneier has said, is that it assumes that the desire for privacy implies wrong-doing.
16. Proprietary data formats must never store public information.
40. Flame wars help the other side.
58. Voicing your views in a Slashdot comment thread is good, in your own blog is better, but in places that non-geeks frequent is best.
64. Geek activism is not all about extreme positions. There is a gradient- find your position on it.
89. Free as in free lunch is good. Free as in a free people is even better. For software and for everything else.

(via Boing Boing) activism geek 0

2006/6/14

From a glossary of common polyamorist phrases, written by a professional dominatrix from Seattle:

Poly phrase: "So, which conventions do you like to attend, what kind of books do you like to read, what are your spiritual beliefs, and what is your ideal occupation?"
English translation: "Which science fiction conventions do you like to attend, who is your favorite fantasy author, what form of neo-paganism do you ascribe do, and where in the computer industry would you like to work?"
(To which one could possibly add "what music are you into?", which would translate roughly as "1980s, EBM, ethereal or darkwave?")

(via tyrsalvia) fringe geek goth humour pagan polyamory scifi 0

2005/7/26

Everybody Loves Eric Raymond, a web comic for penguinheads, involving Richard M. Stallman, Linus Torvalds and Eric S. Raymond living in a shared house.

And then there's Buzz Aldrin's Conspiracy Smackdown:

(via bOING bOING, reddragdiva) buzz aldrin comics conspiracy theories eric raymond geek humour linux open-source 0

2005/6/7

A Washington Post article looking at Akihabara, and how the Tokyo electronics-retail precinct has become transformed into the world's first geek ghetto:

"We have been discriminated against for being different, but now we have come together and turned this neighborhood into a place of our own," said Yamagata, nursing his tea as he sat with a portly computer technician friend at Akihabara's Cos-Cha, one of a dozen "maid cafes" in the neighborhood. Here, the waitresses' uniforms are inspired by the French maid-meets-Pokemon outfits of adult manga. At other cafes, waitresses greet patrons at the door with a curtsy and the words "Welcome home, master."
Tetsu Ishihara, 34, a computer programmer whose three-room apartment in west Tokyo is filled from floor to ceiling with comic books, does not want to be associated with such charges. Ishihara maintains a growing collection of 130 life-size pillows of female anime characters -- both purchased and self-designed. His favorite is Mio-chan, a female character from a love-simulation computer game in which a high school boy builds up the courage to ask a girl for a first date.
"There are some people who do lose their grip on reality, but that is not me -- or most of us," said Ishihara, a chubby man with glasses who this year started dating a woman steadily for the first time She's an anime artist. "For me, the pillows have been my source of unconditional love, a reminder of when I used to be hugged by my parents. There is nothing strange about it."
Don't expect Gwen Stefani to commercialise this any time soon.

(via /.) akihabara anime bizarre culture fetish geek japan otaku sex wtf 0

2004/11/18

Last night, I went to Dorkbot). It was a bit of a mixed bag; the presentation on London Free Map (a sort of geospatial Wikipedia, consisting of people with GPS units walking the lengths of streets to build up a GFDL/CC-licensed map of London and break the Ordnance Survey monopoly; connected with OpenStreetMap) was interesting, as were some of the "minidorks", including one by a chap who put a Wacom tablet on a guitar-like mount and used it to make noise with Max/MSP, and one by an American who built a 3D voxel display for Burning Man, using 729 microcontrollers, RGB LEDs and ping-pong balls, and an Ethernet printer server to control them). Others left a bit to be desired; the architecture student who started his with footage of the World Trade Center attack and went on to talk about the acoustics of spaces, sticking microphones into his mouth and filling latex balls with white noise, seemed a bit on the random side, while the presentation about the possibility of a bicycle that folds into an umbrella-sized package had little more than hastily-made Microsoft Paint drawings to it. There was also an intriguing-looking installation on the table, consisting of a brain-shaped set of neon tubes, a red vintage telephone and a Radio Shack speaker box, though the person operating it couldn't make it, and attempts to demonstrate it over the phone proved inconclusive (all it did was flicker, and the mobile phone interference drowned out what the guy at the other end was saying).

computer music digital art dorkbot free culture geek geodata hacks london max/msp 0

2004/4/19

Recently, a few women decided to attend a 5,000-person LAN gaming party in Norway. When the geek boys at the party saw that there were actual chyxx attending, they decided to make the most of the unprecedented opportunity, by getting a camera and filming close-ups of their breasts and buttocks, apparently even following them into the showers, and, of course, ending up with a girl-free LAN party. Here's to terminal social ineptness. (via bOING bOING)

(The people who, upon seeing real live girls, decided to make a spontaneous LAN-party-tits'n'ass video (and I'll say that again: " LAN party tits'n'ass video"; that really speaks for itself) are probably the same types who complain on Slashdot about how they're so sexually frustrated because there are no girls around who are into Linux/Quake/Star Wars fandom and will admit it. Though, when you think about it, perhaps we're witnessing evolution in action?)

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2004/4/2

Dating Design Patterns, or, adapting object-oriented software design methodology to the task of picking up women (or, as the authors put it, "attempting to implement getLaid method successfully on FEMALE platform"); the "design patterns" have names like "Jini Singles Bar", "Pan-Dimensional Renaissance Differentiator" and "Reverse Polarity" (which sounds more like Star Trek than OOP).

Classic Method Call: The recommended parameters for Just Asking.
Structured Exposure, a.k.a. Container-Managed Dating: How to use commonly available dating containers to achieve maximum sessions with less time and effort and an array of services you don't have to write yourself.

Umm, OK... (via Slashdot; where else?)

dating design patterns geek humour parody programming sex tech 0

2004/3/8

A look inside the script kiddie culture, where gangs of teenagers hijack networks of machines, and launch denial-of-service attacks on each other's territory, at least partly in competition for the attention of the handful of girls in the scene, in between selling their use to whoever is willing to pay. Meanwhile, the script kiddies have access to security holes and exploits from secret "0day" mailing lists, months before security experts find and patch them; and don't expect the FBI or its local equivalents to do anything about them; the agencies reportedly don't have the resources to deal with such matters. (via Slashdot)

crime geek hacking script kiddies sex 0

2004/3/5

Concept of the day (via Found): The Mary Sue story. This is a piece of fan-fiction which is obviously intended as the author's wish-fulfilment trip, features a character who's an idealised version of the author getting to hang out with their favourite Star Trek/Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings characters; the Mary Sue character usually has an Aura of Smooth which causes other characters to trust them and/or fall in love with them for no stated reason, or do other out-of-character things, and often is ridiculously cute, smart, talented or magically endowed, and/or consumed with a very contemporary teen-angst. And, more often than not, has long raven-black hair and exquisitely pale skin.

Or, obviously, Galadriel's secret love-child (Aragorn's unacknowledged daughter) who runs off to join the Company of the Ring, sorts out Boromir's problems, out-magics Gandalf, out-fights Aragorn during the melodramatic scene in which she reveals her true identity, demonstrates herself to be so spiritually elevated that the Ring has no effect on her, and wins Legolas' heart forever.

As you can expect, Mary Sue stories (most of which are probably written by people in the lower reaches of the Geek Hierarchy) are ripe targets for mockery. There is a LiveJournal community dedicated to examining the most egregious examples of Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter fanfic and ripping them gleefully to shreds here; some of the examples (like "Kairi", the raven-haired elf whose abusive father is in league with Sauron, or, indeed, this, or this) sound thoroughly cringeworthy. Anyway, go and read it; it's a laugh-riot.

bulldada fan fiction fandom geek mary sue unintentionally hilarious writing 2

2004/3/4

LiveJournal of the day: HP LaserJet model 1150:

I have decided to take some "Postscript as a second language" courses at the local community college.
I think my inability to speak anything but PCL is hindering my career.

anthropomorphism geek humour livejournal 0

2003/11/4

A piece about "furries", a growing subculture of people who identify themselves as anthropomorphic cartoon animals, and which may or may not be a sexual fetish, depending on whom you ask:

On condition of anonymity, the author of a G-rated a comic book featuring an animal character described his experience at a Furry convention he was invited to attend, and how revolted he was by the horny Furs he encountered. They have convinced themselves that all writers and artists who have ever placed a talking animal in a story must in fact be closet Furries at best, and that surely those creators would not be disturbed by the sexuality of Furry fandom, he says. This includes even the classics like Bugs Bunny, the Pink Panther, and Mickey Mouse.
"It's rough if youre a transsexual its even rougher if you try to explain that you're a cat in a human body," says another Furry fan, who bemoaned the fact that Furries cant opt to surgically change their species in the way transexuals can change their gender.
These conversations are typical of what one will find at Furry conventions, scheduled alongside social events like dances and talent shows. Scattered here and there in private hotel rooms, one might also find places like The Nursery where adult babies can get diapered and Fursuit dry-humping orgies, or Plushie parties, where people who disdain or cant find human sexual partners stick their organs into an SPH (strategically placed hole) torn into a carnival prize raccoon. But most of the Furries who get laid at the convention will probably hook up through mutual interests, physical attraction, flirtatious conversation, and a few drinks, just like everybody else does.

Apparently there are now "furry nights" at nightclubs in the US. Could Furry be the next Goth or something like that? (If so, I wonder how long until "furry" musical projects start appearing, and what they'll sound like. Or, indeed, until we see veteran Furries bemoaning the influx of trendy normals in tiger suits from Hot Topic or Dangerfield or someplace.)

bizarre furries geek sex subculture wtf 10

2003/10/30

Salon asks whether "geek chic" will kill off innovation; the thesis is that now that "nerds" are no longer persecuted and ostracised, they won't have impetus (or time, between all the parties and dates in their social PalmPilots) to invent, create or otherwise contribute to society. Or, to put it in other words, that innovation required two components: individuals with technical intelligence or other skills (these would include artists and musicians), and the ostracism/persecution of said individuals. Which is an interesting theory. (via TechDirt)

(If one wants to get Freudian, one could argue that said individuals' lack of a sex life resulted in them sublimating their libidos into creative enterprises. If that holds true then, given the rise of "nerverts", Heinleinian polyamorists, netsex, webcams and the like, we're, well, fucked. Though hasn't polymorphous perversity been a feature of the fringes of society since the 1960s at least, if not the days of the Hellfire Club?)

Another criticism of the theory is that the "nerd" stereotype doesn't hold for most IT people, and hasn't done so for much of the 1990s. From what I remember, many of the people who did computer science when I went to university were well-rounded individuals, with social lives, girlfriends (they were predominantly male; computer science is almost a monastic environment, but that's another post) and non-computer interests. Many played sports in their spare time; and many were quite good programmers. Whether these people fall into the "nerd" category is debatable.

But yes; if innovation depends on talented outsiders, the "nerd" bar will just be raised higher, and there always will be some who don't want to go to the numerous parties they keep getting invited to but would rather sequester themselves and follow some intellectual passion. And if that fails, there are always autistic savants.

alienation computer science culture freudian geek society sublimation 2

2003/9/3

The Onion lays into fanboys: I'll Thank You Not To Call My Collection Of Sequential-Art Erotica 'Dirty Comics'.

Manara -- not that you would be aware of this -- is famed throughout the Continent, though sadly unappreciated on these shores, thanks to the ignorance of philistines like yourself. Are you familiar with Manara's collaborations with a certain Federico Fellini, a man who is seen in Italy as a filmmaker on par with our Lucas?

(I know, it's about as sporting as clubbing helpless baby seals. But it's fun...)

fanboys geek otaku porn the onion 1

2003/3/19

Anti-virus consultancy Sophos Plc has released a profile of virus writers: they are male, obsessed with computers, 14-34, and chronically lacking a girlfriend. (via Techdirt)

(It also looks like another instance of the assumption that anyone who isn't usually in a sexual relationship is some sort of sociopathic freak. Soon not having a girlfriend will be probable cause for search and seizure. Hey, the 9/11 hijackers didn't have girlfriends either.)

(And shouldn't that be "chronically lacking a girlfriend or an interest in comic books/record collecting/trainspotting"?)

geek relationships stereotypes viruses 0

2003/2/18

Read: Why nerds are unpopular, an interesting essay which starts by asking the question of why intelligent kids are so unpopular in schools, and going from that to the malaise of living in a world detached from any real meaning:

And the active persecution is, if anything, the less painful half of the popularity equation. As well as gaining points by distancing oneself from unpopular kids, one loses points by being close to them. A woman I know says that in high school she liked nerds, but was afraid to be seen talking to them because the other girls would make fun of her. Unpopularity is a communicable disease; kids too nice to pick on nerds will still ostracize them in self-defense.

The author posits that the culture of sadism and cruelty is an emergent property of human nature in an unnatural environment (both schools and the wastelands of suburbia), and that in a world without meaning or purpose, kids find their own meaning in popularity and create their own arbitrarily vicious society. (I.e., the Lord of the Flies Effect.)

I think the important thing about the real world is not that it's populated by adults, but that it's very large, and the things you do have real effects. That's what school, prison, and ladies-who-lunch all lack. The inhabitants of all those worlds are trapped in little bubbles where nothing they do can have more than a local effect. Naturally these societies degenerate into savagery. They have no function for their form to follow.
If I could go back and give my thirteen year old self some advice, the main thing I'd tell him would be to stick his head up and look around. I didn't really grasp it at the time, but the whole world we lived in was as fake as a twinkie. Not just school, but the entire town. Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children.
As far as I can tell, the concept of the hormone-crazed teenager is coeval with suburbia. I don't think this is a coincidence. I think teenagers are driven crazy by the life they're made to lead. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs. Teenagers now are neurotic lapdogs. Their craziness is the craziness of the idle everywhere.

(via MeFi)

alienation bullying geek lord of the flies ostracism sadism school society teenagers 17

2003/2/10

Social phenomena seen through American high school archetypes: A WSJ writer claims that public criticism of SUVs (that's American for big-arse personal monster trucks) is geeks against jocks, the bookish dweebs who got beaten up in high school dressing up their rage at their former persecutors' wealth and soulless materialism in the garb of moral outrage, out of sheer impotent spite.

This anti-SUV fervor strikes me as a classic geek assault on jock culture. Here are the geeks: thoughtful, socially and environmentally conscious. They understand that only spiritually shallow people could possibly get pleasure from a motor vehicle. Then there are those jocks. They cruise through life infuriatingly unaware of how morally inferior they are to the geeks. They make money, become popular, play golf and have homes that are too large. And they're happy! For all the wrong reasons! And so every few years the geeks pick on some feature of jock life (McMansions, corporations, fraternities, country clubs) and get all worked up about it. And you know what? The jocks don't care! They just keep being happy. The geeks write, protest and fume. The jocks go to St. Croix.

By the same token one could dismiss any progressive concern is the whining of sore losers (or, indeed, "Jealousy masquerading as Class Consciousness"). Though, even if there is some truth in it (pertaining to the psychological motivations of some progressive activist types), that doesn't invalidate the argument. (via Plastic)

bullying culture culture war geek jocks politics psychology usa 9

2003/1/4

Self-declared geeks in New Zealand are calling for the establishment of a geek.nz domain, under which self-styled geeks, nerds, dorks, trekkies and penguinheads can set up their own domains, celebrating their unique and vibrant culture. If it is approved, geek.nz will follow maori.nz, which is already established. Though some are skeptical of the whole thing:

"My opinion of geek.nz is (is that it would open) the way for other poorly-defined groups like muso.nz, boyracer.nz, dopehead.nz," argues a critic in the online discussion.

The problems with that I see are is that who determines who's an eligible geek. Will it be run on a for-profit basis, with anyone being able to buy a domain? Will status in the "geek community" be taken into account? If so, could this lead to a clique running the domain and denying access to people they don't like, and a resulting schism, with a rival "nerd.nz" domain (or "therealgeeknz.net" or something) being created and competing for allegiance? Will we also see a "jedi.nz"? (It's an official religion, or it would be if the authorities didn't ignore the overwhelming results of the last census?) And then the goths will want a "goth.nz", and the people standing with clipboards by the railway lines will want a "gunzel.nz", and so on, until we see "progressivedrillandbass.nz" or similarly ephemeral niche domains?

domains geek new zealand 1

2002/8/15

Autism linked to "geek genes". Dramatic increases in incidents of autism among children born in places like Silicon Valley and Cambridge, are evidence for the hypothesis that the skills associated with high-technology industries such as programming and engineering may be genetically related to autism:

Some doctors now think that workers who have the complex analytical skills needed to succeed in high-tech industry, and who are perhaps slightly awkward socially - the classic profile of the "computer geek" - may, while not fully autistic themselves, at least be carrying at least a few of the genes that contribute to it.

(I once heard it claimed that 70% of programmers/engineers/high-tech workers have Asperger's Syndrome. Then again, 86.7% of statistics are made up.)

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2002/5/16

Clearing things up: George Lucas has stated that Jedi knights are not celibate, and may have active sex lives. Note that this only applies to the Jedi knights in the films, and not the self-styled variety you see on the net.

celibacy geek jedi star wars 1

2002/4/24

The Onion: Magic-Store Employee Not The Same Since Losing Virginity:

"Scottie was always up for coming over to my house and teaching me how to use a hopping casino coin or a stiff rope," said best friend and fellow magic aficionado Andrew Welch. "Now, he just wants to go to parties. He's all, 'Is anyone having a party this weekend? We should go to that bar we went to on New Year's Eve. There were cute girls there.' God, Scottie, get a life."

geek humour satire sex the onion 0

2001/12/17

Silicon Valley, an area with a high concentration of engineers, hackers and technical specialists, is seeing a dramatic increase in diagnoses of autism and Asperger's Syndrome. This suggests that the colloquial links between the conditions and technical pursuits may in fact be provable; and that in sufficient concentrations, those who may otherwise have been prevented from breeding by not getting mainstream society will find similar mates -- and their children may be more severely affected.

Says Bryna Siegel, author of The World of the Autistic Child and director of the PDD clinic at UCSF, "In another historical time, these men would have become monks, developing new ink for early printing presses. Suddenly they're making $150,000 a year with stock options. They're reproducing at a much higher rate."
"Autism gets to fundamental issues of how we view talents and disabilities," he says. "The flip side of dyslexia is enhanced abilities in math and architecture. There may be an aspect of this going on with autism and assortative mating in places like Silicon Valley. In the parents, who carry a few of the genes, they're a good thing. In the kids, who carry too many, it's very bad."
For all we know, the first tools on earth might have been developed by a loner sitting at the back of the cave, chipping at thousands of rocks to find the one that made the sharpest spear, while the neurotypicals chattered away in the firelight. Perhaps certain arcane systems of logic, mathematics, music, and stories - particularly remote and fantastic ones - have been passed down from phenotype to phenotype, in parallel with the DNA that helped shape minds which would know exactly what to do with these strange and elegant creations.

(via Slashdot)

asperger's syndrome autism geek health mutation silicon valley society 4

2001/9/5

This week's Onion has some good pieces, such as God Finally Gives Shout-Out Back To All His Niggaz, and Plan To Get Laid At DragonCon 2001 Fails,

"I imagined some girl and I talking about the new Lord Of The Rings movie," Melcher said. "Then I could say, 'Oh, I have the trailer on my laptop back in my hotel room if you want to see it."
Though a distinct minority, some females were present at DragonCon. "There was this one girl dressed up like Black Canary. She had the boots and the fishnet stockings and everything," Melcher said. "I couldn't really talk to her, though, because there was a pretty dense crowd of guys around her at all times."

not to mention this gem: Oh, Girls Are No Good At Genocide.

The Khmer Rouge picked Pol Pot because they knew he'd be good at murder and torture and all that other boy stuff. A girl probably would have planted flowers in the killing fields.

geek gender genocide hip-hop humour role-playing satire sex the onion 0

2000/12/14

Geek Girl Services; no, not an Educated Escort for the Slashdot set, but a service for the ladies. Give Mike your money and he'll make a true geek of you. Go on; indulge yourself.

(Wonder how long it'll last before Rosie X sues it into oblivion and/or persuades WIPO to hand over the domain.)

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2000/9/7

Oh dear; Jon Katz discovers Mage, the role-playing game. And, obviously links it to geek pride and corporate conspiracies.

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2000/8/10

Some clichés never die: Wouldn't you know it; the first place winner of the QuakeCon "coolest case" contest involves a glowing skull. (via Slashdot)

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2000/5/29

`Nerverts' redux: The complex interplay between the hacker/geek culture and non-traditional sexuality: (Salon)

[Richard Stallman] says he has never had a monogamous sexual relationship, and he's also observed that programmers tend to favor polyamorous or non-monogamous relationships more than people in other jobs... he recognizes that the unconventional choices he has made as a software engineer are analogous to the choices he's made in his romantic life as well. "I believe in love, but not monogamy," he says plainly.
Deirdre Saoirse, a former employee of Linuxcare and founder of a Bay Area users group for people who use the Python scripting language, feels strongly that people involved in open source can be just as conservative and closed-minded as any other part of the population. "Some of my female and/or queer and/or transgendered friends have felt very out of place in the Linux community," she says emphatically. "I've seen a lot of sexism and not a lot of openness to alternative lifestyles among the community as a whole, even in the Bay Area."

Sounds like the Slashdot locker-room where "gay" is a pejorative they sling at Microsoft. --acb

"Geeks are introverts, we read a lot of science fiction, and we have bizarre socialization," says Muffy Barkocy, a non-monogamous bisexual working with Apache and Perl at Egreetings.com. She believes that a geek's stereotypical lack of socialization encourages a more experimental sexual life. "Because of our lack of socialization, we don't learn about the monogamous imperative. It just doesn't occur to us."

bay area geek nerverts normality polyamory relationships sex society 0

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