About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.


I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.

2018-06-10

Real-Life Nerds: NerdBurger Games

I lost a friend at the Southern Fried Gaming Expo (not tragically, I just misplaced him), and while I was walking around looking for him I passed this vendor's table with a few books on display. I'm telling myself, "it's just RPGs, you have enough of those already and you need to keep walking," but the title Murders and Acquisitions grabs me by the collar and turns me toward the table.

While I was a little surprised at being manhandled by an RPG manual, I'm glad it happened, because the guy at the table, Craig Campbell, was really cool and also happened to be the game designer for NerdBurger Games. I talked with Craig for far to brief a time, because I had to go find my aforementioned friend, but I picked up his business card (more on that later) so I could look him up online when I got home.

If you've never heard of NerdBurger before, you need to go visit the site. Like, now. Just stop reading this and go spend some time over there. You'll find descriptions of Craig's games, you can purchase Murders and Acquisitions as well as NerdBurger's newest title Capers--an RPG set in the roaring twenties featuring super-powered gangsters, and listen to the NerdBurger podcast, which will give you an idea of why I'm so glad I stopped and talked to Craig.

This guy is a gaming genius.

Remember that business card I mentioned? He's got the entire RPG manual for Lucky Dino-Robo-Pirates on the card. How does he do it? You'll have to get a business card from him to find out.

It's worth it. Check out NerdBurger and have some fun. 

2018-06-05

Nerdy Competition: Congressional App Challenge

The Congressional App Challenge opened this week, and their website specifically says that earlier registrations have a better chance at winning, so go on and register today!

(This challenge is only open to middle and high school students in the US and its territories--apologies to any of my older readers or visitors from other countries who got their hopes up.)

The Congressional App Challenge (CAC) is an annual competition hosted by members of Congress meant to encourage kids to learn how to code. Not all members of Congress participate, so if you don't find your representatives on the CAC list, send them a tweet, give them a call, or write a letter.

According to the website any kind of app, in any programming language, on any platform qualifies for entry, as long as it's original (not a copy of an existing app). So if you want to program an app for an autonomous lawn sprinkler in Rust, go right ahead.

The competition offers recognition by members of Congress, prizes, and the winning apps go on display in the Capitol building in Washington, DC.

One of the coolest aspects of the CAC is its aim to bridge the gender, geographic, and racial gaps in tech by encouraging future tech innovators from a variety of backgrounds. Participant demographics for previous App Challenges surpassed all tech industry diversity metrics, so they're doing something right.

Submissions are accepted through October 15th, but the rules strongly suggest registering before September 10th, so find your representative and sign up early!

2018-03-23

The Mr. Rogers From an Alternate Universe

You saw it here first...unless of course you subscribe to Adi Shankar's Bootleg Universe...in which case, maybe just watch it again. 

Shankar--who also made the Castlevania animated series possible, and brought us a dark sequel to the Power Rangers saga (BEFORE the 2017 movie reboot)--produced this Kenlon Clark re-imagining of an alternate Fred Rogers who spent time in Vietnam before he decided to change the face of children's television. 

This is a gritty, NSFW version of Mr. Rogers, but one who carries around a swear jar.

2018-03-14

Project MARS Competition Now Open

Curiosity Rover - NASA
Humans are taking our first steps toward actually setting foot on Mars. When astronauts venture to the planet, what will they see? How will they feel? What will they experience? What will they do? Project Mars invites college students and early career professionals to learn about NASA’s deep space endeavors, including the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System rocket and deep space gateway concept, and create their visualization of what this expedition may look like.



SHOOT A FILM
Bring your interpretation of NASA’s work to send humans to Mars to life through breathtaking cinematography, amazing animations and state-of-the-art special effects. You have up to 5 minutes to tell an inspiring story about a 9-month trek to the red planet, so captivating creativity is a must! The winning short film will be selected by a team of film and graphic design industry judges including Gareth Edwards, director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Grand prize is $10,000.

MAKE A POSTER
Recruit brave astronauts for a daring mission, promote space tourism for the adventurous, or depict the next generation of space systems that will transport new world explorers to Mars. The sky is not the limit when you design a poster for the deep space journey, so reach out to infinity and beyond for creative ideas. The winning poster will be selected by a team of film and graphic design industry judges including Joshua Grossberg, creative director of McCann New York. First place prize is $1500.

http://projectmarscompetition.com/

2018-02-28

Discover the Real Life History Behind Hogwarts

Memoir of Nicolas Flamel
The British Library collaborated with Google's Arts & Culture collection to open up their Harry Potter: a History of Magic exhibition to anyone with an Internet collection.

If you couldn't get to the British Library for their exhibition in real life, you can still see J K Rowling's handwritten notes and Jim Kay's original illustrations for the books alongside rare books on alchemy and magic from the library's special collections. Who knows, you may be able to decipher the Ripley scroll and recover the secret to the elixir of life.