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all words and photos: Mitchell London

For much of my life, “nerd” has been an unambiguous pejorative. On the elementary school playground, it belonged to the same class of words as “geek” and “fag” and “tattle-tale.” But somewhere on the way to the future, the word its barbs and became an enthusiastically embraced self-descriptor; in a positive growth arc correlated with the rise of the internet, “nerd” shook its insulting connotations and is now on its way to becoming a badge of honor. No where in DC has that shift been more apparent than this past Thursday night at the Bier Baron.

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Curated and hosted by thirstDC , the Bier Baron was stacked to the gills with badge-wearing nerds of every persuasion: every species in the nerd kingdom had some kind of representation. The format for the event was unique – five professional nerds made short presentations detailing subjects of their choosing, from weather’s effects on human society to the impact of social media on culture to the relationship between eating meat and human evolution.


As someone who spends many Thursday nights just sitting idly in a bar or concert, churning through the same five ideas and arguments for the billionth time (Nirvana v. The Fall; Real Housewives of New York v. Real Housewives of Atlanta; Fried Food v. Other Types of Food), this was a deep breath of fresh, nerdy air.


After these pint sized TED-talks, presenters toasted their specialized area of nerdery, an act which was a not-so-discreet part of the event’s second purpose: get the nerds liquored up enough to go home with other nerds and make more nerds. And to this effort, I say l’chaim. Thanks in part to these vigorous efforts, the world that the next generation grows up in will be even more hospitable to nerds and their kind.

Presenters (8/25)

  • * Daniel Alexander, WeatherAlpha
  • * Shauna Dillavou, The Luckiest Shauna
  • * Chris Mooney, Featured Speaker – Author/Blogger
  • * Dr. Briana Pobiner, Human Origins/Smithsonian
  • * Melissa Pierce, Life in Perpetual Beta Project

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