Saturday, 25 July 2009


How do you spot a geek?

Well, obviously there are all sorts of little cues and clues... But some of them are more than slightly odd, and I wonder where some of these traits come from.

For example. Yesterday, I saw a girl who was 'walking in a geeky manner'. (This is quite unusual, most girls don't walk like that.) It's true. And I know that I do it too. Maybe you do. I don't know how common this trait might be, but I have frequently wondered about it. I habitually tend to walk fast enough that some people struggle (slightly) to keep up. I don't mean that walking fast is an exclusively geeky ability, far from it; but I get the impression it's more common among geeks than in the general population. But I've never seen this idea discussed before and I could be wrong I suppose.

I'd like to point out that it's not a competitive thing. (Most geeks are probably not that competitive.) And on occasion, I've met people who think it IS competitive - which is rather irritating and off-putting.

I walk fast because I have a certain *focus* and a sense of purpose centred on my intended destination. (I don't walk fast if I have no sense of where I'm going or where I should be; although that's actually quite unusual.) Furthermore, it may be that I walk faster because in my formative years I spent less time walking with friends than many people and would often find myself walking on my own. This combination of solitude and purpose is possibly common among geeky types and could easily give rise to "walking in a geeky manner".

And along with this strange long, lunging gait (despite not being very tall) - as a geek, I do have that strange ability to 'spot other geeks'. Sometimes it's a nuance of dress-code, or a pattern of speech, or even an awkwardness in some social situations. But sometimes, it's just how someone walks...

But I wonder what other 'secondary' geeky traits there are of this kind?

Oh, yes. Puns. That'd be one for sure. Apologies to those who thought this was a post about electronic logic-gates. It's NOT.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

My Favourite

I know I'm a geek.
How do I know?
I have come to an ever-increasingly-solid understanding of the fact. I'm dead certain.

Yesterday, at work, I revealed another facet of my geekiness. I have a favourite isotope! (This isn't a necessary qualification for geekhood; but I think it seals the deal beyond any reasonable doubt.) So, which one? Carbon 14? Nope! Don't give me any of that Carbon 14 nonsense! Deuterium (Hydrogen 2)? Nope. Not Tritium either (Hydrogen 3). And it's not Uranium 235 or 238. No, no, no. It's Strontium 90.

Why? Hmmm. That's a more difficult question. But here are some supporting reasons...
  • It's a radio-isotope. (Did you think I'd want a stable one? - It emits Beta radiation)
  • It has a reasonable half-life of around 28 years. Not too long, not too short.
  • It's a product of nuclear fission of Uranium - which is kind of funky.
  • Chemically, it's a Group II element - similar in behaviour to Calcium.
  • And it sounds good, to say out loud. (It would make a half-decent expletive - in some circles, I'm sure!)

And how did they react at work? Strangely, they were impressed. (Not much, but a tiny bit impressed.) I think they must be getting to know me now...