We’ve been working hard in the lab lately, and haven’t had as much time to keep up to date here with the growing infected community. But our dedication has paid off, and we’ve managed to isolate a new strain of The NERD: Nerdicus contagium biochemis.
It was incredibly difficult to isolate this particular pathogen because it seems to only survive in the most pristine lab conditions. Quite unlike N. c. maritimus, N. c. biochemis is spread indoors, and only, as far as we can tell, after most bacteria and other pathogens have been temporarily killed off with bleach or alcohol. We have yet to determine the exact mechanism of infection, but it seems like the pathogen can sit on lab coats, pipettes, and other lab ware for an extremely long time and even withstand sterilizing UV lighting.
Symptoms include obsessive attraction to lab work, attention to detail, a strange thrill from working with extremely small volumes of liquid, and desire to express an unquestionable commitment to molecules. They tend to end up working as molecular biologists, physiologists and biochemists, though not all infected individuals end up in these fields. There also seems to be a strange trend involving tattooing molecules with meaning onto themselves. These people, for example, are likely infected with this strain:
By far, the hardest part about being infected with The NERD is finding that special someone who doesn’t mind the disease. Thankfully, there are a number of sites dedicated to this, like Nerd Passions, intellectConnect, Geek 2 Geek, Sweet on Geeks, iQcuties, GeekPlusOne.com, ScientificMatch and Bee My Geek. There are even sites for geeks who like their own gender, like GayGeeks.org. Some of the sites charge to be a member, others don’t, but whatever your monetary investment, you’re sure to find a lot of infected singles on these sites.
Unlike other diseases, The NERD doesn’t necessarily have outward symptoms, therefore it’s entirely possible for infected individuals to mix and mingle with the uninfected population without being identified. So if you’re not infected, keep an eye out for strange behaviors – they may be your only clue that your date is infected with The NERD.
But, as we’ve mentioned before, those infected are better lovers, so even if you’re not infected you might want to give those sites a shot, or at least give NERDs a chance. Sure, you risk getting The NERD, but hey – you’re probably going to catch it eventually anyways.
While we may be unique in our desire to understand the symptoms and causes of The NERD, we’re not the only support site out there for infected individuals. If you’re looking for social networking amongst NERD-positive people, check out one of these places:
Nerd Girls: a site which “celebrates smart-girl individuality that’s revolutionizing our future.”
Nerd Approved: a place to find gizmos and gadgets that are well-liked by the infected.
The Nerd Council: forums with topics on anything that could be of interest to those with The NERD
Nerd Point: A place for nerds to unite, because “the benefits of registering and meeting fellow nerds are endless.”
There are certainly other sites out there, so if you know one, leave a comment! Remember – there’s nothing wrong with NERD infection. It’s a common disease affecting many people. You’re not alone!
Upon searching for NERD cases, our team has stumbled upon this online test which claims it can tell you how nerdy you are. While they might not yet know the implications of this, the authors have created a useful online tool for self-diagnosis!
So if you’ve been lurking here, wondering about your own infection status, go take the quiz and see what it says. Keep in mind, however, that this test is only a preliminary one, and may not catch all cases of The NERD.
Christie Wilcox has detailed much of her NERD infection in a memoir-type post called “A Marine Biologist’s Story“. From the detailed account of her life, it’s clear that she was infected at a very young age, most likely by her parents. She describes in detail being attracted to museums and zoos, lacking normal gag reflexes for dead and decaying creatures and other very clear NERD symptoms without even realizing she’s infected. Here are a few tell-tale quotes:
the most interesting part of my IQ report isn’t the score, it’s the commentary from my examiner. She said I was a “poised, cooperative young child.” I was friendly and quick to talk, and even better, in my chatty childish way, I talked about what I liked:
The student spoke briefly about her interest in animals and bugs, noting that she likes to “find dead geckos and open their mouths to see their tongues.“
I liked learning about the physiology of marine inverts, and playing with them in labs. Once, I spent an entire hour flipping an upside-down jellyfish upside-down then right-side-up again until my hand actually went numb.
I was never squeamish or easily grossed out by things. When I took freshman biology in high school I was the only person who actually got a bit of a kick out of dissecting the fetal pig. I stayed after class to carefully remove its brain so that I could look at it close-up.
It’s a long post, so we won’t post it in its entirety here, but you should go check it out and see what an infection with Nerdicus contagium maratimus looks like when the person isn’t aware of their own illness. It’s a very revealing and entertaining insight into life-long NERD infection.
If you work with an infectious disease long enough, you run the risk of catching it yourself. We regret to inform you that our founder, Christie Wilcox, may have had such an unfortunate occurrence with The NERD (although we suspect her infection may have occurred long before her current work with The NERD). She is displaying strong signs of infection, including being named Science Channel‘s Geek of the Week.
We hope that you will continue to support her and this site, as more than ever the effects of NERD infection are hitting home for us. Truly no one is safe from NERD infection – we all must support and appreciate each other in spite of it.
Often, those infected with The NERD feel a need to express their symptoms in highly creative ways. Just think of George Lucas, J.R.R. Tolkien or Douglas Adams. In his Case Study Behold, a nerd, Andrew K gives us a perfect example a The NERD infection seeking creative outlets, in this case in the form of Poetry. His infection is clearly deep, having reached so far into his brain that it is affecting his emotions:
Young LoveI ask myself where I would be, Without my TI-83. The joy felt when I turned it on was my happy scholastic dawn. Its sleekness and its simple form, kept my young soul markedly warm. The graphing screen, my oldest friend. Without it, pre-calc spelled the end. To watch her trace Arc-Cosine(x) put me into a nerdy hex. Her stark display of asymtotes, stays with me more than all my notes. When I was done the number set, I met her silly alphabet! Making games with novel words; The past time of the clever nerds. A few of us, from what I know, Put on her, Super Mario. Those calculators filled in me, Unquestionable Jealousy. When calc came round my poor ol' head, Our partnership was nearly dead. The teachers, acting cruelly, took my first love away from me! They said "Maths done well in your brain", so they left her out in the rain. I conquered calc without her grace, longing all the while for her embrace. T'was done, day one of post-secondary I found new love, feeling sad and wary. And into life, now I go, with my simple Casio.