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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dear Science Issues Fatwa, Claims Dominance over Nerd Category

posted by on July 29 at 11:28 AM

Dear Science Issues Fatwa, Claims Dominance over Nerd Category by Frank Hardy SEATTLE (AP) - Dear Science, otherwise known as Jonathan Golob, issued a Fatwa today, claiming divine providence over the “Nerd” category of SLOG. “For far too long, lesser clods have claimed rights to the divine and most holy Nerd category, polluting our hallowed space with all manner of tripe,” declared Science in an address to adoring crowds. “Our holy battle begins now! Let my rivals attempt to out-nerd me.”

So begins my opening salvo:

All metric paper sizes have a width to length ratio of 1 to √2.

Why is this nifty? Well, lets start cutting the paper in half, always along the long side.


If we start with a sheet that is √2 on the long size and 1 on the short, each half will be 1 by √2/2.

Hmmm. Algebra time!

1 : √2/2.

If we multiply both sides of the ratio by √2.

1 * √2 : √2/2*√2

We get the ratio √2 : 1 again!

With metric paper, the ratio of length to width stays the same every time you cut the paper in half! So, each size up is just the combination of the two sizes below.

Way nicer than Letter and Legal. If you cut a sheet of letter paper (ratio of 1:1.3) in half, each half will be 1 : 1.5. Total suck!

Adhere to ISO 216 or perish.

Jonah, Sam and Paul, the Fatwa has been issued. Algebra, metrics, ISO standards and paper—beat this, and you’ll probably capture the glorious title of nerdiest slogger.

RSS icon Comments


spot on!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 29, 2008 11:53 AM

Off topic, I know, but since we're talking nerd:

So... did any of you guys take a look at the 4th edition AD&D rules yet?

While I think they are a vast improvement over the wreck that was the 3rd edition, I still miss being able to use all those modules I collected over the years for 2nd edition...

It was interesting how the Draconians from the Dragonlance realm were put in as a character class, (under a different name, albeit), which makes me wonder if there might be a resurgence for DL in the AD&D universe after it was pretty much made the red-headed stepchild as a result of the dismal failure that was 5th age.

What do you think?

Posted by unwelcomed | July 29, 2008 11:53 AM

wait!!!! perhaps later in a non political zone I can pg and the claim the dominance topic as clear.

Posted by danielbennettkieneker | July 29, 2008 11:55 AM

Bitch, please. Unit conversions are where it's at. The more unit systems, the more conversions, the better. You know what? I think I'll put this in cubits, just because I can.

Posted by Greg | July 29, 2008 11:58 AM

Actually, I think this was discussed on Slog already.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | July 29, 2008 12:04 PM


Um...too soon!

Posted by Paul Constant | July 29, 2008 12:14 PM

Also, with A4/A5, you can take advantage of all the super-groovy office supplies at Uwajimaya.

Posted by Fnarf | July 29, 2008 12:14 PM

Please... ISO isn't nerdy, it's pedantic.

Paper size isn't nerdy, it's what Office Clerks do.


Posted by Graham | July 29, 2008 12:15 PM

This post makes me so hot.

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | July 29, 2008 12:20 PM

People who don't know the correct units for expressing tissue metals concentrations are not nerdy enough, and should stop bragging about how nerdy they are. That is all.

Posted by Tlazolteotl | July 29, 2008 12:29 PM

serial commas.

Posted by chops | July 29, 2008 12:31 PM



Posted by HULK | July 29, 2008 12:33 PM

A4 is not an exact ratio - it's only an approximation.

As you'd realize if you parsed the full measurement.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 29, 2008 12:36 PM

it also makes folding plans/drawings in european architecture offices a lot cleaner/easier than in the states. the 24x36 doesn't break down to 8.5x11 quite as beautifully.

"but metric sucks, imperial is better"

Posted by holz | July 29, 2008 12:38 PM

And everyone knows AD&D has gone downhill since the original D&D manuals ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 29, 2008 12:42 PM

Isn't that a Fibionacci sequence?

Posted by wisepunk | July 29, 2008 12:42 PM

@Graham: You're fired.

Paper size/construction is eminently nerdy. Consider Jan Tschichold who, for one, spent his formative years measuring old books to divine secret page proportions. That is totally nerd. And awesome. And, eventualyl, enough to put him on the Nazis' bad side i.e., you know who else was against good design?

Or maybe Robert Bringhurst whose typographical magnum opus should be required reading for anyone even suggesting they may someday qualify for nerd classification.

So suck it you nerd wannabe.

Posted by ben | July 29, 2008 12:44 PM

Ranting about late taxes and the death of procreative (S) Art. {Seattle art}

Artists must suffer to die.
That is the truth in lending law of the art rule 101.
We all know this to be true.

Famoue fictionalized families frove this remarked theory over and over again, time immemorial.

One needn't be concerned about the late taxes portion of this exercise in futile lactation, so please constant reader, let me stag and report to you the easy transitional list to mystify this encumberance.

First off, like the dirty quirt before the obligatory bridal bath, is in this case the window display.

In the event that lawyers intent on interest in pre decided conclusion and preventative argument address eliminates the ability to conceptualize this treaty, let me assure you dear reader, the road is tort ur-ous.

Answer," Ya... that's the real bullshit part about sado masichistic dominant submissive to your craft logical positivism."

The concept that work, work work then deny that your wants and needs to peoples requests to look at your work, and god forbid you say "fuck you" to the system if you introvert and explain that some of your sufferings have been too painfull to visualize publically.

Take for instance the role of leadership in art.

Art loves the cash.

The systematic process in their pockets.

Like a warm friendly flesh friend saying,
" I'm a Creep!!!!" as a joke imagine saying this to a drunk frat punk pussy face at a hazing sexual assault club with some unwitting pleab misunderstanding in tandem.

So, "...the hazer says to the pleabs... reach into my pocket and pull out my frat key."

Well dear imaginative fragilistic dreamer, commodity brokers do that all the time to unwary artists everyday.

Assasin gunslinger your days of slapping wheat paper up on a di;apitated building are over very quickly if you try to get rich off of some one elses low rent real estate tycoon who is ready to collapse one block of tenament on a whim for another guarenteed appropriation in the halls of lobbiest heaven.

Lobbiest hell is of course that place where artists suffer.

The window is the sales plate.

The creation is the food.

"The factory of full production modeling post hysterical fuel loss is a disproportionately ambiguos argumentative sidestep by a system hiding the sound and audio waves of those under surviellance."

When the factory gets big enough, people just go somewhere else to " assemble" more portions of the factories " largess " and
....whalla!!! you have a system so sucessfully bloated that the pain of rinsing success no longer seems as ugly as it once was.

You don't happen to have a copy of the "imps" covered by the close-lee gaurded secret that happy's tattoo was chained to a dime downtown do you? Them it was turned blue from green yuksters.

Because after all dear and constant reader, art is for sufferers... and my pen is my art.

My art is so powerful that the sword continually sacks and pillages to try and regain my artists trust, seal and ring.

The library system has designed some kind of cop code to steal Peter gabriels site.
End of story.

Posted by danielbennettkieneker | July 29, 2008 12:58 PM


I will grant you that someone who isn't Jonathan Golob did something interesting with paper sizes. That doesn't make Golob's post nerdy.

I'm not entirely sure what Bringhurst has to do with this failed nerd post, but sure... He made some fonts.

But I think that you're pretty much 100% in the fail column for confusing graphic design with nerd.

Nerdy would be debating GURPS vs. SPECIAL and whether Bethesda will be able to keep up the writing style of Black Isle.

Posted by Graham | July 29, 2008 12:59 PM

4e dnd is to 3.5e dnd what monopoly junior is to axis and allies.

Posted by Joh | July 29, 2008 1:18 PM

@Graham: Well, I'll disagree whole-heartedly. Don't paint nerds with just one brush, guy. Some of us are proudly nerds while never having role-played, LARPed, or whatever other overly-restrictive criteria you feel like applying. We're not all trench coat-wearing, dice-rolling virgins endlessly debating whether D&D4 rules have stayed true to the Gygax model or whatever.

Nobody will ever convince me that irrational numbers and geometric constructions isn't nerd.

Take your nerd-bigotry to some other forum!

Posted by ben | July 29, 2008 1:22 PM


Your attempts at ad hominem attacks and the like don't detract from the fact that you are missing the point of the almost complete fail of Golob's attempt at a nerdiness post.

Ok, fine. You want to self-label yourself a nerd because you like stuff... fine. But you're starting to paint with the nerd brush so broadly that it lacks all meaning.
I mean fuck... Can't we just start calling football fans, "football nerds". Those guys who memorize stats about baseball players, lets call them nerds too while we're at it. Some guy who drinks too much, lets call him a booze nerd.

Where does it end?

Posted by Graham | July 29, 2008 1:34 PM

@Graham: Guess the point is that I don't believe Golob's post doesn't qualify to wear a nerd flag.

Re: too broad a brush. I'd say you're wrong. Nerd ought to be a self-selecting class. Saying "I'm a math nerd" qualifies you until someone scratches you and discovers you can't tell FLT from Green's Theorem. "I'm an RPG nerd" qualifies you until someone realizes that, cape notwithstanding, you can't tell an initiative roll from a saving throw. Similarly, saying "I'm a design nerd" qualifies. And, yeah, baseball can be nerdy too.

It's a broad category. Don't worry, you can have your tiny segment of the category and keep its "my nerds only" exclusivity. But don't repress those of us who don't share your proclivities. Embrace the wide world of nerds!

Posted by ben | July 29, 2008 1:46 PM


Taking your opinion about anything can be self-selected as "nerdy" makes Golob's fatwa of nerdiness pointless. Every single post on Slog can then be self-categorized as "nerdy".

The way you're using the word "nerd" would be better replaced with the word "enthusiast".

Posted by Graham | July 29, 2008 2:10 PM

@20 FTW.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 29, 2008 2:27 PM

Golob dares the world to out-nerd him.  Instead an existential debate on the scope of nerd-dom breaks out, and no one notices that the debate itself decisively out-nerds the original challenge.

Posted by lostboy | July 29, 2008 2:30 PM

@Graham: I disagree. There are still level's of nerd. For instance: take two math nerds. One talks about how awesome Sudoku is and how they loved A Mathematician's Apology while the other looks askance and goes back to trying to get their 79th proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, this time via Ring Theory. Both're nerds I would think but one severely more hardcore.

Similarly, Golob's fatwa could be won. It's possible to have cross-nerdization in which an RPG nerd defers to a Sci-Fi nerd, acknowledging that—though their fields are different—one may be way nerdier e.g., "you named your kid 'Hikaru Sulu Bryant', speak Klingon, and spent 40 grand on making your Oldsmobile into a TIE Fighter? You win."

All a matter of perspective. Now, off to promote peaceful nerd-coexistence elsewhere.

Posted by ben | July 29, 2008 2:41 PM

\sqrt{2}, \sqrt{2}, \ldots, \mathbf{Yawn}, \ldots

Try listening to one of these sequences.

Posted by jebus h. xst | July 29, 2008 3:10 PM


I will agree with you on the idea of levels of nerdiness. I will defer to Lore Sjorberg on the specifics of the matter:
Geek Hierarchy

Posted by Graham | July 29, 2008 3:11 PM

Golob, why, why did you do this? You are tearing the nerds apart. You are driving wedges in nerdom. Nerds need to stick together and look what you've done, you've started an internecene feud. Nice going. You should be spanked with the metric ruler you are sooooo in love with.

Posted by PopTart | July 29, 2008 3:11 PM

Why can't we all get along?

Posted by Nerd-Geek Freedom Alliance | July 29, 2008 3:33 PM

@14, I realize you did say "architecture offices" but, still, the "engineering" size; 22x34 does fold to 8.5 x 11; 22x17, 11x17, 11x8.5
Since 24x36 is "architectural" size it's for artists not nerds, artists need to suffer for their art.

Posted by Epimetheus | July 29, 2008 6:24 PM

Who the hell still uses paper?

Posted by Mahtli69 | July 29, 2008 10:26 PM

This would be great for photos. I'm a photographer and constantly have to do (and explain) different cropping ratios for 8x10, 5x7, 4x6, etc. If we used these sizes, we could crop it once and be done with it.

Posted by SeattleBrad | July 31, 2008 7:55 AM

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