Friday, August 8, 2008

Nerd Levels

I've heard a lot of lame jokes in my life, and some really good ones too. This led me to develop a ranking system for nerd jokes. You may have heard mention of it before, but this is the official nerd joke ranking scale:

Nerd Level 1. All jokes in this category are not funny at all. They have at least something to do with some nerdy thing, but they don't make anyone laugh.

Example: Q: What is evil and makes babies cry? A: Microsoft. See, not funny at all. Not even lame. Worse than lame. Unworthy of being called a joke, but here they get classified as level 1.

Nerd Level 2. These jokes will usually evoke a mild chuckle or giggle the first time they are heard. But not for more than a second or two at the most, and after the first time the joke loses all power of funniness. The general population tends to understand these jokes.

Example: Two atoms bump into each other in the street. "Oops, I think I lost an electron!" said one of the atoms The second atom asked, "Are you sure?" The first one replied, "I'm positive."

Nerd Level 3. Level 3 nerd jokes are usually funny more than once before losing hilarity. They are pretty good, and make most people laugh for slightly longer periods of time than level 2 jokes. However, they sometimes require a more in-depth knowledge of the topic to understand.

Example: A programmer was found dead in the shower. The investigator quickly determined the cause of death: the directions on the bottle of shampoo read "1. Lather 2. Rinse 3. Repeat"

Nerd Level 4. Now we're getting into the good ones. They are a bit harder to explain, but a good rule of thumb is to gauge the nerdiness and hilarity of a joke, multiply them together and take the square root. One trait of level 4 and up nerd jokes is that they will not often be popular or known to many people. They may even be made up on the spot by someone with a shot of inspiration. Here are a couple examples...

Example 1: Person 1: Stink! The bathrooms are out of order! Person 2: Perhaps we should apply a sorting algorithm to them.

Example 2: Today Apple unveiled the "iPod Planck". It's the smallest iPod possible while still being recognizable as an iPod. The number of songs it can store is limited only by its surface area. Hence the iPod Planck, like cows, are assumed to be spherical.

Nerd Level 5. These are just great. Similar to lever 4 but just better or more funnier. I would personally classify many Bruce Scheier jokes in this category:


  • Fact: Bruce Schneier can compile syntax errors.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier normalizes all schema just by inserting random data.
  • Fact: Packets travel faster than the speed of light for Bruce Schneier, but he can still catch them.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier's brain is his revision control, and it works better than SVN.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier breaks out of loops with his mind.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier has no use for rand - his values were always meant to be.
  • Fact: It takes Bruce Schneier code 1 second to sleep 2.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier has no memory limit.
  • Fact: What Bruce Schneier does not bless, he undefs.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier has no need for Acme::Bleach. He looks at the screen and the text runs away.
  • Fact: There is only one way to do it. The Bruce Schneier way.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier can finish an infinite loop in 1.3 seconds.
  • Fact: Code written by Bruce Schneier cannot be optimized.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier doesn't need compilers nor editors. He uses butterflies to generate eddies in the atmosphere, deflecting cosmic rays to hit the drive platter and flip the bit where he wants the machine code to appear.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier doesn't use GOTO. Code comes to him.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier had a brief conversation with Donald Knuth in the early 60s. Donald is still writing about it.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier was once angry at the world. So he created Windows.
  • Fact: 90% of the world's spam is hand typed by Bruce Schneier. It takes him only 3 minutes.
  • Fact: When he was 3, Bruce Schneier built an Enigma machine out of Legos.
  • Fact: Every time you don't "use strict" Bruce Schneier kills a kitty.
  • Fact: The one true bracing style is the one Bruce Schneier uses.
  • Fact: Most people use passwords. Some people use passphrases. Bruce Schneier uses an epic passpoem, detailing the life and works of seven mythical Norse heroes.
  • Fact: Every program Bruce Schneier has written can be run backwards. It will rollback whatever it did.
  • Fact: No matter how you encrypt your traffic, Bruce Schneier can read it by just looking at the cable. His ears can intercept wifi transmissions.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier can determine if a program terminates just by looking at it. And then the program terminates itself.
  • Fact: For Bruce Schneier, SHA-1 is merely a compression algorithm.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier's secure handshake is so strong, you won't be able to exchange keys with anyone else for days.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier once decrypted a box of AlphaBits.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier knows the state of Schroedinger's cat.
  • Fact: Bruce Schneier's tears can burn holes through an OpenBSD firewall. Lucky for us, Bruce Schneier never cries.


Nerd Level 6. These jokes are hilarious, and they never get old. Even some nerds do not understand them, and few people actually get them 100%. Still, they are incredibly funny and get better as you get more and more of what they are talking about. At the time of writing, there are only two known level 6 nerd jokes in existence. These live on the FreeBSD funnies page, most notably "How many FreeBSD hackers does it take to change a lightbulb?", and the "Unix Wars".

Example 1: http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/books/faq/funnies.html

Example 2: http://insecure.org/stf/unixwars.txt

Nerd Level 7.

This level is reserved for only the single best nerd joke in existence. By definition, there can be only one. It's like the nirvana of geekdom. Unfortunately, like nirvana, nobody knows what it is or how to get it. This joke is so complicated and nerdy that nearly every person on the planet is not capable of comprehending it. It is rumored that Larry Wall, the greatest geek ever, is the only person who knows this joke. If he does, he hasn't told anyone (possibly for fear of spoiling the joke on a much lesser mind).

3 comments:

Colgan said...

The enrichment center is pleased to take this opportunity to present an amusing question: What did Batman say to Robin before they got in the car? Answer: "Robin, get in the car."

Anthony said...

i remember i got either a level 5 or level 6 joke once...but you had to be there...and you were.

Robert said...

Quality, I will be using this post as a standard to rate nerd jokes from now on.