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Nerd Nation
Nerds are ridiculed, but Kishore Hari says they're just people with a passion for learning and sharing.

By Kishore Hari

Comic-con is complete again. Over 140,000 made the pilgrimage to San Diego to buy comic schwag, listen to movie stars, but mostly wait in lines. And for one week, the airwaves were filled with mildly condescending commentary about nerds, defining them as immature, celebrity crazed, Star Wars worshipping groupies.

Well, I have a confession. I'm a nerd. And I bet you're a nerd too.

My shelves aren't filled with action figures still in their boxes, my closet isn't overflowing with dusty comic books, and I've never camped out overnight to catch a first showing of some movie. I don't fit into that stereotype - I'm just a regular nerd.

Specifically, I'm a science nerd. You can find me most nights at science events: learning about the search for dark energy or exploring the intricacies of taxidermy. I spent last weekend talking yeast genetics and its application to brewing.

Geek, dweeb, dork, techie, goober - the label doesn't really matter. I just love learning and I take my passion to ridiculous, borderline obsessive, lengths. That's the defining characteristic of nerds - relentlessly exploring the minutia of some thing just for the pure joy of it.

Nerds are the best people to be around - living and loving life, dedicated to learning and sharing, and often times make a lasting positive impact on the world. They keep our water clean, are developing new treatments for disease, and make sure that you can hear this broadcast wherever you are. Nerds just make this world awesome.

I guarantee there is some "thing" you love to a fault. It might be a little weird, you may not be that good at it, but you absolutely love it and lose yourself in it. As nerd hero Wil Wheaton so eloquently put it, it's the way you love that thing, whatever that is for you, that makes you a nerd.

So when you hear about "those" crazy nerds that swarmed comic-con in San Diego - ignore the stereotype and see it as a call to action to proudly show off your inner nerd.

And the original Star Wars was really awesome.

With a perspective, I'm Kishore Hari.

Kishore Hari is the Director of the Bay Area Science Festival at UC - San Francisco.

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