About the Author

Column Archive










Don't Laugh AT Geeks. Laugh WITH them.
5.28.2001 by Professor Particle


I'd been out of town for a bit to partake in a conference, and, as usual, I've managed to learn quite a bit despite myself. Sure there are the fun new discoveries and technological advances, blah, blah, blah... but there is a more important idea that gets reinforced at these conferences: geeks think that they're funny. In fact, there are no funnier jokes to a geek than the exclusionary jokes that require a certain level of education to appreciate. I'm not immune to this joke-snobbery syndrome myself, in fact I revel in it. From time to time however, I enjoy the more accessible geek humour.

I'm sure everyone at some point has thought up their own Steven Hawking joke. What's funnier than a once vibrant and bright scientist gradually wasting away in his wheelchair? Tee hee, gotta love that wacky disembodied robot voice that speaks for him. Steven Hawking humour is so trendy that I'm sure that everyone's already seen it by now on The Simpsons and at The Onion, and has even found it's way into gangsta rap. For those with more sophisticated tastes, you can enjoy the scientific stylings of Britney Spears. Britney Spears? Apparently she knows more about semiconductors than one would assume.

You don't always need a celebrity to make your geek humour accessible to non-geeks. In my laziness, I scoured the web to find some tangible examples to attest to this.




Everyone loves those delightful Marshmallow Peeps, but how much to we really know about them? Rigorous scientific testing is what is needed to see how much punishment these little suckers can stand. One day this research may give us just the edge we need to solve the world's food distribution problem. One day these candy fowl could be one of our most precious resources. One day, you may owe your life-saving surgery to a Marshmallow Peeps transplant. The energy woes of the United States demand bold new alternatives to conventional solutions. Be a part of a solution with unlimited promise: write to the powers that be and demand more funding for Peeps research.




Ever since the dawn of time people have wondered about their origins. Day by day we are learning more and more about the precursors to human life, the first few instants of the early universe, and one day we may gain even deeper insight into our mysterious beginnings. There are only a brave few who would dare answer the deeper question: chicken or egg?




What goes up must come down. Yeah, well, only if there is someone there to enforce that bit of common sense. People take the laws of physics for granted, but I think that you should take a few minutes out of your busy day to pay tribute to the tireless souls that keep the illogical at bay.




If there is one thing besides research at nerds are good at, it's griping. The source of inspiration can be
stubborn computers
or pesky lab projects that don't work the way they are supposed to. Not too many people can articulate their frustration the way that Lukas Kovar can. Check out the rest of his site for other fun gripes (not always related to science or technology, but that's okay once in awhile) and his vision of an ideal day in his world.




Of course, I must mention the amazing work done by Alex Chiu. He is best known for his work on bringing immortality to humankind via magnetism. That may sound laughable to unbelievers, but as he points out, they laughed at Edison, Tesla, Einstein, and Mandel. Okay, maybe not Mandel. If you haven't checked out his site in awhile, he updates it every so often, and you could spend hours basking in his genius. He will enlighten you with his mind-altering philosophy as well as edify you with his triumphant breakthroughs in science. Don't let the fifth-grade art or Timecube-like logic fool you: his brilliant ideas are as easy to implement as +/- = teleportation. Ignore his advice at your peril or "China will throw nulear bomb(sic) everywhere."

Wait a second! I've included this modern-day messiah in this missive about jokey science sites... obviously just an oversight on my part.





Disclaimer | Email Us | Dance!
Text, images, design, and our groovy mojo are ©
return to the top of the page