I Wrote a Book With Zach Weiner: 2^7 Nerd Disses

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July 20 2013 12:41 PM

The Secret Project Revealed: “2^7 Nerd Disses: A Significant Quantity of Disrespect”

Over the past few weeks I’ve hinted at my new Sooper Sekrit Project, saying I was working on something with a friend who was also a Well-Known Internet Personality™.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

It is now time to unveil said Project and said Personality. In no particular order, they are Zach Weinersmith, and our new online-only book “27 Nerd Disses: A Significant Quantity of Disrespect” (illustrated by Jess Fink).

Nerd Disses
If you don't think this is the greatest book of all time, then clearly you are so literarily bereft you think "The Sun Also Rises" is a pro-geocentrism tome. Click to enbuyenate.

Cover by Jess Fink


I know what you’re thinking: “What? A collection of nerdy insults? From our Bad Astronomer?”

But yes! Zach is the demented brain and capable drawing hand behind Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, one of the best comics on the web. We’ve had a mutual admiration thing for a while, and we both have something of, um, a juvenile sense of humor. I generally keep mine restrained here on the blog, while he lets his fly on the comic. But then circumstances intervened…


A while back, he started tweeting a series of science put-downs, “yo mama” jokes with a nerdy theme. I joined in, and Zach let slip he was thinking of collecting them into a single volume. I am nothing if not an opportunist, so I told him I wanted in.

We got to work, tapped Jess to do the drawings, got Michael Johnson to do all the layout and editing, and the result is the aforementioned “27 Nerd Disses: A Significant Quantity of Disrespect”. That’s 128 insults that will make you laugh if you read them and sound smarter if you use them in some sort of post-graduate level duel over the integrity of your thesis.


We decided to make them more direct (cannily surmising that two ginger-based men probably couldn’t and, more importantly, shouldn’t do “yo mama” jokes), creating what is essentially a nerd defense system. Faced with an opponent of dubious intellectual pedigree, using this book you will be well-equipped to become well-quipped. Astronomy, biology, math, even economics—all and more are covered in the book.

We decided to make it online only, because printing it would take effort. Also, we decided to make the book a dollar. Yes, a dollar. Mind you, you don't have to pay just a dollar; you can pay what you think is fair as long as it's at least a dollar. Wanna buy it for a buck? Help yourself. Want to put in more and help me get my daughter through college? I thank you for your generosity and will nod my head silently toward you in respect.


A word: Some of these jokes are not precisely safe for work. There’s nothing I wouldn’t want my teen daughter not to see, but there may be one or two that will surprise you given what you may think about me. Well, time to face facts: I grew up reading Kliban and science fiction in high school, and a significant fraction of my brain never really grew out of that. So be prepared for some bodily humor as well as some that will poke at your synapses.

Bonus points if you can figure it who wrote which diss. Some may seem obvious, but don’t be too sure. We split the load pretty evenly.


We had fun putting this together, and I hope you have fun reading it. If not, then clearly you are so mathematically deprived you think a postulate is when a mathematician has acne.


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