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.


Nerd Specializations: Brainiac

Brainiac by Bixentro
This is the nerd who single-handedly mops the bar floor with competitors...on trivia night. A brainiac knows intimate (some might say useless) details about anything you can think of, can tell you on what day March 15th will fall in 2179, and knows how to convert a broken microwave into a death ray. 

Remember that last part when you decide who gets into your bunker during the zombie apocalypse.

Braniacs may be fascinating, intimidating, or completely boring depending on what they're talking about at the time, but they are usually happy conversing about any topic you care to throw at them. 

Often brainiacs struggle with distraction--when you find everything interesting, it's difficult to focus--and can have trouble with certain social skills such as understanding why other people might not want to discuss a topic like how fly larvae can be used to calculate time-of-death. There plenty of brainiacs who do well in a group of strangers, but their concentrated efforts on developing their vast catalog of knowledge can sometimes lead to a deficiency in social graces. It's fine to let someone know if the conversation starts making you uncomfortable, but if you're too polite to tell someone the topic is boring, it's usually simple to introduce a new subject by asking a brainiac what he knows about it.


Nerdism: Don't blink.

Nina's Awesome Weeping Angel
Don't blink is a fairly straightforward nerdism that comes from Doctor Who. It refers to weeping angels, creatures that look like the statues you find in cemeteries except these statues can ruin your very existence. Imagine stone vampires with sharp fangs and sharp fingernails and sharp...everything, and they hunt in packs. And pretty much any statue could be a weeping angel. (Remember that next time you make fun of a garden gnome.) Fortunately weeping angels can't move when someone's looking at them. The only way to keep them at bay?

Don't blink.

Usually when someone utters, “don't blink,” she's referring to something scary that you need to keep your eyes on--a pot of risotto, a red dragon, a particularly antagonistic classmate.

However, there's a universal subtext to don't blink.

As Ferris Bueller put it, “life moves pretty fast,” so if you blink you might miss something. Gamers, programmers, book lovers, movie lovers, people lovers, fire fighters and race car drivers all battle eyestrain at some point because every one of us has something that sucks us in so deep that we don't want to close our eyes to it. Not even for a second.

So next time you're up to your eyeballs in something you love, remember the good Doctor's advice.

Quinn Dombroski - Don't Blink


Nerd Q & A: I'm a 15-year-old Nerd. How can I Build Social Skills?

An anonymous Quora user posted this conundrum that is a pretty common situation, so it's worth adding to the manual.

I am a 15-year-old nerd with an interest in computers and stuff. I lack social skills. What are some ways to build them?
My interests also include economics, and I'm almost engaged to computer and non-fiction books.

A previous article about Flexing Your Social Muscle will offer some advice on building your social skills, so take a look at it, but here are a few things that will be more specifically helpful in your situation:


Nerdism: Nerdcore

Nerds who rap.

Not ironic, nor a joke.
Just nerds.
Who rap.

Considering that the global population is over 7 billion, even if you said, "a nerd rapper must be one in a million!" that would be a lot of nerd rappers. I think, statistically speaking, there should be more out there. In any case, the genre exists, and it's called nerdcore.

Here's an example featuring Dual Core, YTCracker and nerdcore's founder M.C. Frontalot--all major players in the nerdcore game.


Nerd Specializations: Otaku

Niccolò Caranti - Zoro x Nami
Otaku is a Japanese word meaning a person (or people) with an obsessive personality, particularly toward manga and anime.

In western countries otaku has become the word of choice for nerds with a penchant for Japanese culture, and this is largely a self-selected term in Europe and the United States, considering that most westerners have no idea what otaku means. While otaku in Japan tend to be almost exclusively male, the typical western otaku is equally likely to be male or female.

If you're around otaku, prepare yourself for an onslaught of cartoons, comic books and endless collectible card games filled with huge-eyed characters whose hair defies gravity. Otaku can be intimidating for someone unfamiliar with Japanese culture, particularly their high-energy lifestyles and casual use of Japanese phrases in everyday conversation. Don't worry, just immerse yourself in the culture and go with the flow, you'll have fun and might learn a few things about Japan along the way.