Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Geek humor

Or nerd humor.

I got a birthday card from the College of natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Houston, where I got my MS in mathematics. On the front, under a portrait of Newton, it says, "If the sun is the center of the universe, and ... " Next, under a photo of Einstein, it says, "If e=mc (squared), then ..." Next, under a photo of Hubble*, it says, "We hypothesize that ..." On the back, against a background of a deep-sky photo showing lots of galaxies, it says, "Your birthday will be a big bang!!!"

* Shoulda been Hawking.


TGirsch said...

I'm still trying to figure out the difference between a "geek" and a "nerd." I guess it's kind of like trying to figure out the difference between "cajun" and "creole."

David said...

There's bookoo difference, mon, I garrontee!

As for geeks and nerds, wasn't the geek originally the guy who bit the heads off live chickens in traveling sideshows? I don't know how that word got its current meaning.

I also can't remember what they called people like me when I was high school, 50 years ago. I don't think either "geek" or "nerd" was used then.

TGirsch said...

Oh, I know there's a big difference -- it's just that nobody can tell me what it actually is. Best I can figure, it has more to do with origin than with style. Stuff that's "cajun" has a French-Canadian, Acadian heritage, whereas stuff that's creole has a Caribbean origin. Unfortunately, that still doesn't help me figure out which one gumbo is...

On geeks, I'd heard the "biting heads off chickens" origin stories as well, but have no idea how to connect those particular dots.

TGirsch said...

Surprisingly, Urban Dictionary has a remarkably plausible description of how 'geek' came to its current usage.

For nerd, not so much.