As a self-identifying nerd, there’s something I have to tell the non-nerds.

There’s a hierarchy of nerds.

Normally, I wouldn’t bring this up, but after finding two sites today reminding me of this solemn fact, I felt it necessary to bring it up.

More under the tag.

The first article that caught my eye today was about Congressman McNerney.

The big announcement he had? The definition of a geometrical object with 248 dimensions.

This guy beat Richard Pombo in one of the local California districts in the November elections. This tells me two things: (1) He’s a math nerd. A math nerd who becomes a Congressman is seriously blowing my engineering mind — and I’ll explain that in a bit. (2) If his opponent was really a representative of Republican politics at work, 2008 is in the BAG as far as the Democrats should be concerned, because … c’mon, see (1)!

Now — I do appreciate his passion for the sciences.Β  But math nerds are a different breed of nerd.

I should know — while I’m an engineer in spirit, I also minored in mathematics (yes, you 80s pop fiends — “I could’ve been a don, I can program a computer…” but okay, I need Val to choose the perfect tie…) so I know of where I speak.

Mathematicians are the scary ones. These guys are the ones in the movies they send out to speak to the aliens because those on Earth don’t get ’em either and by an extension of that logic, they must speak the same language. (Gotta love Hollywood plotting on this front.)

So here’s the nerd hierarchy in brief:

Non-nerds < Applied Statisticians < Some Pure Sciences < < Computer Programmers < Engineers < Some other pure Scientists (including Statisticians) < Physicists < Really Scary Pure Scientists < Mathematicians < Aliens

Get all that? πŸ™‚

The second article that motivated me to write this — one other truism — engineers must mock mathematicians for being impractical in the here and now, and mathematicians must mock engineers that will come 400 years after them, for without their services in the here and now, they won’t have the tools to fix the flux capacitors and the warp engine drives. And the physicists can go either way, it depends on if you’re talking about Classical or Modern Physics.

I was reminded of this when I came across this engineer-mathematician-physicist joke site on the net. I remember hearing most of these in college, and they are all sadly true. At least to this nerd. πŸ˜‰

So yes — we now live in a world where mathematicians are the politicians of choice.

Brave New World, indeed. πŸ™‚

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