The Geekiest Moments Of 2008 In 2008, people registered to vote via video game console and elected a comic book fan for president. We explore these and other geeky moments.
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The Geekiest Moments Of 2008

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The Geekiest Moments Of 2008

The Geekiest Moments Of 2008

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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And Barack Obama is considered the first geek president. Yes, the first geek president. Anthony Layser is the deputy managing editor of the online men's magazine called Asylum, and he's come up with a list of 50 wonderfully geeky moments of 2008. He's here with me right now. And Barack Obama is on your list, I suppose?

Mr. ANTHONY LAYSER (Deputy Managing Director, Asylum): Absolutely. It's the biggest story of the year.

BRAND: OK. Well, how do you define geek?

Mr. LAYSER: I think it's someone who has maybe an intellectual bend and is a little obsessive about pop culture stuff, from comic books to movies. Those sorts of things are very exciting and can be something that we geeks obsess about.

BRAND: Well, when you think of Barack Obama, you think, well, not necessarily obsessed with pop culture, but really into the Internet and using that, social networking.

Mr. LAYSER: Never without his BlackBerry.

BRAND: Never without it. Likes comic books.

Mr. LAYSER: Loves comic books. Grew up on Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian.

BRAND: So there he goes. So those would be two geek claims to fame.

Mr. LAYSER: Exactly. He also - when he met Leonard Nimoy, he flashed him the Vulcan hand symbol.

BRAND: I happen to know what that is.

Mr. LAYSER: Oh do you?

BRAND: Yeah, that's...

Mr. LAYSER: Oh my gosh, yeah. You got that right away.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: Oh my gosh. OK. So, the difference between geek?

Mr. LAYSER: And dork?

BRAND: And nerd?

Mr. LAYSER: And nerd. I would say what a geek is, it's someone who does obsess over comic books, those pop culture things that we were talking about. But at the same time, they can be married. They can attract a woman.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: They can have a social life.

Mr. LAYSER: Yes. Yeah. Now, once you start - once you start getting into the dork and nerd categories, you have a little bit more difficulty attracting a mate.

BRAND: All right, let's get to your list, the 50 wonderfully geeky moments of 2008. Maybe you could share some highlights.

Mr. LAYSER: So, you know, we have things like a study at University of California Davis this year that found out that intelligence increases the likelihood of one-night stands for men. If a female believes that you are intelligent, that increases the chance of a one-night stand as opposed to if she were to just find you physically attractive. You know, that we also have things like Tina Fey is definitely the geek crush of the year. And I think it's more than the glasses, too.

BRAND: What, it's the intelligence?

Mr. LAYSER: It's the intelligence, yeah.

BRAND: Let's get to the top. Let's cut to the chase. The number one geek moment of 2008.

Mr. LAYSER: OK. That was - I know Barack Obama was a big story, but that was number two. Number one was "The Dark Knight."

BRAND: The movie?

Mr. LAYSER: The movie, yeah.

BRAND: With Heath Ledger?

Mr. LAYSER: With Heath Ledger. It was the biggest movie of the decade so far if you wanted to just look at receipts. And, you know, it just seemed like when a comic book hero is the star of the biggest movie of the decade, that seems like a nerd - well, sorry - a geek story.

BRAND: And what's your personal favorite geekiest moment of 2008?

Mr. LAYSER: My personal favorite on the list? Oh, man.

BRAND: Geek moments of 2008.

Mr. LAYSER: I think the Large Hadron Collider is my favorite one.

BRAND: (Laughing) OK. What?

Mr. LAYSER: OK. These European scientists decided they were going to create this amazingly powerful particle smasher to do research, and there were all these conspiracy theorists online that were saying this particle smasher was going to create a black hole.

BRAND: Uh-huh. OK, I remember this.

Mr. LAYSER: Yes. That would...

BRAND: So was the interest...

Mr. LAYSER: Eat the entire planet.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: It sounds like something out of sci-fi.

Mr. LAYSER: Yeah. Yeah, but it was real. That's what's awesome about it.

BRAND: So, was the interest in the collider itself or the crazy conspiracy theories surrounding it?

Mr. LAYSER: Well, the conspiracy theories.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: Of course.

Mr. LAYSER: Yeah. I mean, you know, research - scientific research is cool and all. But, I mean, the fact that this might be the doomsday invention, that these crazy scientists are off somewhere creating that. We don't know exactly what's going on. And all of a sudden, it could be a black hole that's eating us up. You know what I mean?

BRAND: Which it didn't happen...


BRAND: By the way.

Mr. LAYSER: No. Well, that's the good thing. That's the good part of that story.

BRAND: Anthony Layser; he's deputy managing editor of the online men's magazine Asylum, where you can read the list of 50 wonderfully geeky moments of 2008. Thank you very much.

Mr. LAYSER: Thank you, Madeleine.

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