OK, OK, I know, I’m a nerd. I can’t help it. That’s just who I am. Today I’m embracing my inner nerdiness!

This all came about because I happened to be thinking about today’s date, July 21, and for some unknown reason I recalled that today is the anniversary of the first robot homicide. Why does this anniversary stick in my mind, you ask? I have no earthy idea.

After doing a bit of research, though, it appears that there are several competing stories out there in Internet-Land. The first robot homicide was either July 21 or Jan. 25, in 1979, 1981, or 1984. It was either in Jackson, Flint, or FlatRock (all in Michigan), or some sources say it was in Japan.  For references, see here, here, here, here, here, and here.

I just don’t have time to track down the definitive answer. Besides, for me it will always by July 21. Maybe I read it somewhere or — who knows? It’s one of those useless pieces of information that is stuck in my head because, I admit it, I’m a nerd.

So, in honor of this momentous anniversary (which may or may not be today), I give you — The Top 10 Indicators of my nerdiness:

  1. I read for fun. And occasionally I have been tempted to buy something :-). What’s, you ask? You are obviously not a nerd! (They sell one electronic item or technical gadget per day, only one. Always cool, always cheap.)
  2. I love Star Trek. I know, I know, it’s embarrassing to admit. But I love it. I can debate the merits of the Original Series compared to The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.  You’ll be happy to learn that I have drawn the line at collecting action figures, but I am supremely jealous of my friend Katy‘s excursion to “Star Trek in the Park.” I have fond memories from childhood of watching Star Trek with my dad. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
  3. I stink at sports. I have absolutely no hand-eye coordination. Zero, zip, zilch. According to my daughter, this is the primary evidence of my nerdiness. That’s because she’s actually good at sports. Miraculously. She definitely didn’t get that from me.
  4. I know Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. By heart. And I’ve thought about them more often than I care to admit. Even though I don’t work in a field even remotely related to robotics.
  5. When other kids were memorizing the words to songs or information about their favorite sports heros, I learned all the words to Schoolhouse Rock. Come on, you know you’re jealous!
  6. Even if I hadn’t started off in the ranks of the nerdy, no one can go to M.I.T. and come out unscathed! According to some folks at CalTech, going to a school with the words “Institute of Technology” in the name is a strong nerdiness indicator.
  7. I remember, with amazing clarity, the first time I played Tetris. My friends and I had several discussions about whether Tetris was a mind control device unleashed on us by the Russians. Apparently, this hypothesis was studied by scientists. (Other nerds.) The mind-altering part was found to have a slight basis in reality and was named the Tetris effect.
  8. I know something about how traffic lights are timed. That’s right, I’m talking about the math, strategies, planning, and all that goes into the timing of traffic lights. And I think it’s interesting. So there!
  9. One of my favorite childhood memories is standing in line to see The Empire Strikes Back (that’s the original name for what you young ‘uns now call “Star Wars V”) on opening weekend, with my family. As you can see, I come by my nerdiness honestly; I hail from a distinguished family of nerds.
  10. As I mentioned above, I remember the date of the first robot homicide. And I was willing to spend quite a bit of time researching it today — for no reason I can think of except that I was interested. Talk about nerdiness!

The sad part is, I easily came up with 10 things, and I didn’t even mention the thick glasses I wear, my fascination with N.P.R., or the subscription I used to have to Science Fiction Magazine.

July 21 is a date I remember, and I embrace my own nerdiness!

Image: star trek figures by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid via flickr under a Creative Commons license

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday

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10 Responses to Nerdiness

  1. Katy says:

    How have we never bonded over the whole Star Trek thing?!

  2. Mindy says:

    After reading this I realize I do not qualify for Nerd…I’m going to have to live with GEEK.

  3. Seth'sMom says:

    Hmmm…I’m not so far behind ya, except of course for the MIT/understanding science thing…. Does a B.A. from Tufts mean I can’t be a nerd? I so wish I knew the laws of robotics- no joke!

  4. According to this chart ( I’m a “geek” not a “nerd.” At least, I know _I_ would say that I’m not socially inept! I hope you would agree :-).

  5. Thanks for your thoughts Barb.

    I should add the disclaimer that I did not create the venn diagram. I do think it is focussed towards those of us in the technology world.

    Anyhow thanks for the link from your blog. PS: I fixed the link back to your blog.


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