Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Sat 19 Aug 00 06:40
Hi Im back. gonna kind of respond generally to some threads. I purposely didnt define "geek" in the book, because I think it's unanswerable and shifting. there are geek qualities and behaviors and characteristics but you cant pin it down. Bruce Sterling has run across this sort of problem with his Dead Media project, where people keep wanting him to define a finite set of "media." And, of course, one of the problems with the desire for a hard definition is that terms like "true geek" and "wannabe geek" come soon after, and I dont think that's very productive. (It's like who is a sell out? when it comes to art, for me). There is this phenomenon of the "film geek" or "train geek" but I dont like that. it seems like the word "enthusiast" or "obsessive:" could work just as well. I do think geekiness is specifically tied to the so-called harder sciences, and to computational devices and theories, etc. That's why the timeline goes back to the inventor of the dust abacus. I did talk a little about the geek tendency to take things apart and to tinker, but, I agree, not a lot.
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Sat 19 Aug 00 06:47
re geek vs. nerd Im not really sure! I have a very arbitrary distinction that I use, but it's open to debate. I tend to sort it out as geeks being definitely concted to technology and science, as above, whereas a nerd isnt, necessarily. I think of nerd as being a more generic term, in that I cant thinkof any specific nerd qualities or characteristics, and I can when it comes to geeks. (off topic a bit--I think some of the confusion between the terms comes from the phenomenon of "scarred childhood chic" where people an get very competitive about who had a worse exerience in high school. this mentality made our society very receptive to geek chic.)
Steven Solomon (ssol) Sat 19 Aug 00 09:29
Re;74... Early in his career, it was theorized that Gates had Aspergers, given some of the possible symptoms he displayed. In the past few years, he seems to have gotten some of the body rocking, eye ticks and lack of eye contact with others under control, at least in public.
RUSirius (rusirius) Sat 19 Aug 00 10:53
i haven't seen it, but how does "The Geek Handbook" differ from "The Cyerpunk Handbook" aside from being better, of course....
Captain Aharhar (gjk) Sat 19 Aug 00 20:17
Speaking of documentation, what warranties are available for geeks? Like, are there extended serivice plans available? And how quickly does the current model geek become obsolete? One year? Two years? Longer?
blather storm (lolly) Sat 19 Aug 00 20:22
Comeon, you know a geek would never buy an extended service plan.
snarly (obizuth) Sun 20 Aug 00 17:48
i proprietarily and lovingly urge mikki to post 3.2.4, Eating Out With Your Geek, and some of the timeline of great moments in geekdom, esp gallileo, john napier and ben franklin, because at this juncture i am in need of a giggle. i believe she mentioned something about NOT BEING IN POSSSESSION OF A COPY OF THE BOOK. that's, like, really geeky.
Scott Packard (spackard) Sun 20 Aug 00 21:01
Am I a geek when fixing something that's broken for a couple of friends and they remark, "Steve. Scott's just like McGyver!", and I say "who?" So then I had to watch a show called McGyver to see what they were talking about. And I thought McGyver was a little clueless on the things he was doing.
Benjamin Brewer (bbrewer) Sun 20 Aug 00 21:25
Can YOU make a bomb out of a gluestick, a match, and some fishing line? DIDN'T THINK SO.
Angus MacDonald (angus) Mon 21 Aug 00 14:13
I still think the National Lampoon poster "Are You a Nurd?" established the correct spelling in the mid-seventies and everybody else is wrong.
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Mon 21 Aug 00 14:13
macgyver may not have known if each project was gonna work, but he knew what he was doing in terms of understanding the UNDERLYING principles of each tinkerage. I luv him. y.
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Mon 21 Aug 00 14:21
for marjorie (she helped me write a lot of these btw) 1614 CE Scotsman John Napier discovers logarithms. Napier also attempted to build a "death ray" using mirrors, sunlight, and various lenses. Both his interests live on, one as a mathematical principle, the other a reliable option for villains in Bond movies. 1633 CE The astronomer, mathematician, and physicist Galileo Galilei is tried by the Catholic Inquisition for suppoting the Copernican theory that the earth revolves around the sun. While Galileo did renounce his beliefs under duress, his is an extreme object lesson of the persecution many geeks suffer at the hands of the staus quo. Geeks rejoiced when the Vatican officially struck down its own prohibition in 1992 and exonerated Galileo. (Geek attitudes toward religion vary, but vindication is always nice.) 1752 CE benjamin Franklin ties a key to a kite and flies it during a storm to prove that lightning is electricity. Franklin has cred for geek extremism and inventiveness, but his policy of "a penny saved is a penny earned" would not have won him many defense contracts.
Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Mon 21 Aug 00 14:23
I actually do know someone who can make incendiary devices out of the most unlikely ingredients: my grad school cohort the Army Reserve Lieutenant. She went on a training last year with members of the medical unit she commands. They had to figure out how to make defensive devices out of stuff they might happen to have were they unexpectedly cut off from supply lines during battle. Her stories were both hysterical and somewhat frightening! [note: being a medical unit, their goal was not to hurt people, of coursem but to set up devices that would make noise if "an enemy crossed the perimiter" ] I believe "rail fan" and "trainspotter" are synonymous, btw.
Scott Packard (spackard) Mon 21 Aug 00 14:51
There's too much sulfur in match powder to do anything practical. (Practical in a bomb sense.) In an unrelated matter, most TV car explosions are enhanced with loads of kerosene (makes for good, black smoke and yellow flame). Also, jet fuel is kerosene, with cold-weather additives. - Scott
Mikki Halpin (filmmag) Mon 21 Aug 00 17:03
and re: asperger syndrome I am researching. very interesting
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Mon 21 Aug 00 17:27
It looks to me like a pretty rare disease and not really related to computer geeks at all. One site I saw said that some children with Asperger's don't understand metaphors and need to memorize facial expressions. Some of us geeks may be anti-social but not to that extent.
snarly (obizuth) Mon 21 Aug 00 17:28
i only helped you with tesla! none of those!
snarly (obizuth) Mon 21 Aug 00 17:34
there was a flurry of articles about a year ago about a theory that autism is actually a continuum, that some people who are just plain geeky may have a mild form of autism. maybe some people theorize that asberger's is also in the continuum? dunno. this stuff really is interesting. i have noticed that geeks often do have a harder time reading facial expressions and body language than non-geeks. yesterday i was on a planetarium tour with a really nice geek and he couldn't really tell that people were getting antsy as he talked at great length, because he himself was so passionate about astrophysics. (not to be disparaging at ALL, i find geek enthusiasms endearing. tho as a non-geek wedded to a geek, i have had occasion to perfect the alert interested expression while my brain goes to barbados.) ergo: "ACTUALLY, PIGS DON'T SWEAT. HERE, I HAVE PREPARED A SIMPLE POWER-POINT PRESENTATION TO EXPLAIN THE SWINE-COOLING MECHANISM TO YOU."
snarly (obizuth) Tue 22 Aug 00 20:17
ATTENTION INKWELL SHOPPERS! mikki will be on world news now (ABC's overnight news show) on wednesday nite. not sure what time it airs--i think the show starts at 2am? VCR people?
Delyn Simons (delyn) Wed 23 Aug 00 12:02
i missed mikki at her book party at cafe proust in sf. might there still be autographed copies of your book at my favorite clean, well lighted place? i fell for a geek, and am still falling for him. he's adapted to our geek-hostile world in dress & music (it was a year before i caught him guiltily watching star trek voyager), but it is the geek parts i adore most about him (thoughtful, considerate, sensitive, pop tv culture illiterate). i may never comprehend why he hasn't read a book *not* about java programming in the last 6 years. or why he'd rather look up the address of the restaurant we are going to on his internet-enabled palm pilot rather than just opening up the sf weekly. i guess geeky became endearing somewhere along the line. Question for Mikki or others: In "Geek Love" they talk about the dictionary definition, carnival-performer-wild-man-whose-act-usually-includes-biting-the-head-off-a-l ive-chicken-or-snake type of geek. When did the term geek evolve from wild circus performer into mild mannered technical tinkerer?
snarly (obizuth) Thu 24 Aug 00 09:07
mikki will be on Pure Oxygen on the oxygen network a week from today. not sure yet what time, but sometime between 12-2pm eastern time (9-11am on the other coast).
Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 24 Aug 00 20:05
Is that online, or...? Please post all the particulars when you find them out so we can all tune it.
Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 24 Aug 00 20:05
From email@example.com Thu Aug 24 20:02:14 2000 Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 10:55:47 +1000 From: Andrew Levin <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: nikki haplin/the geek handbook what a borderland. "geek" is really very functioning aspergers syndrome or borderline autistic phenotype.... children from these parents are at a much higher risk of autism. this risk can be reduced, particlularly some vaccines appear to be able to tip the balance inot autism, particularly the mmr. but vaccines should not be given too young or when a child is ill. stacked or multiple vaccines are a danger area. anyway some links autism/aspergers syndrome http://www.angelfire.com/al/osip7315/
Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Fri 25 Aug 00 07:49
The more I think about this "geek parent" syndrome, the more I think it fits my father. To wit: my brother-in-law and I are discussing (in email!) all of us kiddies going in on a Palm IIIe for him, for his 75th birthday in October; today he forwarded me two emails, one for some sort of cheesy eBiz seminar and the other the latest installment in his "Jewish humor" series. Oy!
Betsy Humphrey (potterygirl) Fri 25 Aug 00 11:47
I actually know someone who has diagnosed asperger's syndrome. It is mild, and he is very open (online) about it. He's much more withdrawn in person, but his intelligence and kindness still comes across.
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