Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My Nerd-Cred

As part of the 2010 Nerdies hoopla, fellow nerd-sceptic-blogger Angela, the Skeptic Detective, has tagged me to present my nerd resume, so here goes!

If this post is too long for you to read, you should know only this: I have actually used the following statements in real-life online conversations:
  1. "[James T. Kirk] never pursued a J'Naii or a Vissian cogenitor... they're both vaguely female. [He only pursued] species that have a clear male/female dimorphism with human-like female characteristics."
  2. "Ontogeny does not recapitulate phylogeny!"
In case you need more convincing, here goes:

First: Star Trek

I am very likely the biggest Trekkie you'll meet. And yes, that's "Trekkie". True Star Trek fans don't bother with the whole bogus Trekkie vs Trekker nonsense. To prove this, I present the following:

I own, and often wear, several Starfleet uniforms. I even got married in one of them:
Yes. My wife is awesome.

I run a Star Trek fan club, the USS Dauntless. I also sit on the board of directors of the Dauntless' parent organisation STARFLEET the International Star Trek Fan Association Inc. I hold the rank of Fleet Captain, (one higher than Captain) hence the five gold pips on my collar in the photo above. Don't believe me? Check out my STARFLEET CV.

I speak Klingon. I'm not quite fluent, but I did once have a short-lived, regular spot on Christina Knight's show on 5fm giving Klingon lessons.

I've been an invited guest speaker at several Star Trek conventions, where I gave a series of lectures on The Transporter, "Treknology", character archetypes in Star Trek and Exobiology. I also helped to run a Star Trek convention... and I hope to see you all at this year's TrekCon SA.

I was once a Tournament Director and "Ambassador" for Decipher Inc's Star Trek-based card game. I directed and played in the first Star Trek CCG National Tournament back in 2002.

I know Star Trek trivia better than you. Go ahead... ask me anything.

Next: Scepticism And Stuff

After being inspired by Phil Plait, Richard Dawkins and others to abandon my beliefs in the supernatural, conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, I incorporated a lot of what I'd learned into this very blog.

My adventures as a sceptic and blogger include being zapped by Scientologists at a Mind, Body, Wallet Festival (the article I wrote about that one has sadly since been taken down), a Homeopathic Suicide Attempt documented for posterity on YouTube (long before those 10:23 guys did it :P) and playing multiple roles along with some fellow nerds in the satire series God Idols produced by my awesome wife Heidi.

I've been going to our local Sceptics in the Pub for some time, participating in the South African Skeptics forum from time to time, and picking on Homeopathic "doctors" who made the mistake of mentioning my name.

You may recognise me from the Skepchick blog where I'm known as "some South African skeptic".

As part of all of this, I read science books for fun. I know most of you guys probably do too... but that just gives us all some awesome nerd cred. High fives all around! I'd rather read The Demon Haunted World or The Ancestor's Tale over Harry Potter or Twilight. Awesome.

Generic Geekness

I am a Google Fanboy. More than you can imagine. Probably the only Google service I don't use is Google Voice... and that's only until I can figure out how to set it up from outside the US.

I try to read the whole Internet everyday. Srsly. I have over 300 feeds in my Google Reader. But I'm not selfish... I'll share with you.

I was a Boy Scout. I can identify most South African bird species by sight. Also, I can track larger animal species, survive in the bushveld indefinitely, make a raft out of sticks and start a fire without a match.

In high school, I didn't play sport. I was in the debating team, the pipe band and I worked in the tuck-shop. I still don't play any sports. And I don't watch any either.

I can think of more things... but I'm guessing my point is made. I am probably one of the biggest nerds you'll ever come across. So go ahead! Vote!

Probably the only other nerd I know of in my nerd-league is Angela, the Skeptic Detective. You need to vote for her too.

The Skeptic Detective

For starters, she's a far more prolific writer than I am. Seriously, follow her blog for plenty of good reading. I wish I had the dedication to produce that amount of content.

And not only is her content voluminous, but it's also high quality: loaded with nerdy goodness! In browsing her archives you will find a broad variety of sciencey and sceptical topics from Organic Farming to Boobs. Also, you will find references to at least two Star Trek Captains (other than me, of course). Go look!

Also, Angela (along with another good, nerdy friend of ours James) founded the Johannesburg Sceptics in the Pub back in 2008. She was one of my co-stars in God Idols and she's gotten link-love from none other than Phil Plait himself!

So? Why are you still here? Go vote!


  1. You, sir, have neglected to mention the serious comic collection and extensive knowledge of all things comicy, gaming, singing in front of people on purpose, mensa member, action figures, dancing well, model starships, telescope and substantial astronomical knowledge, rpg experience, comprehensive knowledge of mobile devices (having a touch-screen smartphone before the first colour-screen cellphones came out).

  2. Why thank you!

    I didn't want to go into all of that cos I didn't want to sound like I was bragging or anything :)

  3. Dude. You're even more of a nerd than I thought. I'm well impressed.

    Question: why, oh why!, is there mystical psychic bollocks in TNG?

  4. 300 feeds? 300? 300? Wow. I thought I was bad with my 120 odd!

    "Some South African skeptic". LoL. :-).

  5. :D It's actually 340 feeds, as of this afternoon. Although, to be fair, some of them are dead... I just don't have the heart to remove them in case they come back to life again.

    TNG psychic bollocks: Yeah. To their credit, they sometimes did backflips to make the psychic stuff more sciencey. Telepathic lifeforms had whole extra sensory organs and brain structures dedicated to the purpose, and telepathic "signals" were treated as detectable transmissions, like radio waves that even ships' sensors could pick up, if not interpret.

    That said, they did slip up a few times. But nothing that can't be retconned away with a healthy dose of interpretation and wishful thinking :)

    Probably the worst offender was the Original Series' second pilot episode "Where No man Has Gone Before", where they showed us how all Starfleet recruits (including Humans) are tested for psychic ability and scored according to an "ESP Scale". Yikes.

  6. You speak Klingon, really?! Wow!!!

    I am srsly impressed, Owen!

    Good Luck ;-D

  7. I like neither Na'vi nor Klingon, as the future global language. Especially when you have to dress up for it :)

    We also need a future international language. One which is easy to learn, as well !

    And that's not English! Esperanto? Let's move forward :)

    At least Bill Shatner speaks Esperanto. Have a look at