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.


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!

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