Nerds can be extremely myopic, both figuratively and literally. While nerds argued for the technical merits of Betamax and Video 2000, the world went right ahead and adopted VHS. There are thousands of similar stores, yet the nerds never learn. They think their opinion matters, but it doesn't. They think that a product that's useless to them is useless to everyone, because they lack the imagination to imagine what it's like to be someone else.

Nerds think they're so smart, but look at how long it took Linus Torvalds to understand that maybe, just maybe his abrasive comments might actually hurt someone. Decades of lacking introspection. If he can make that mistake, so can other nerds, and they do, all the time. Nerds aren't some kind of enlightened cult. They're just people who spend a lot of energy on one thing, usually to the detriment of everything else, including people skills.

I say all of this as someone who is himself a nerd. It's just that I've noticed that, unlike most nerds, I'm a polymath. I have deep knowledge in more areas than most nerds I've met, and it goes across the arts, humanities and sciences, and also into applied psychology. More importantly, they aren't separate spheres of knowledge for me. Everything is connected to everything, so I often make mental leaps that may come across as a bit crazy to others.

@thorthenorseman So this was discussed at length on all the geek news web sites I go to. I had a lot to say since I am on the spectrum. We do tend to specialize, and focus on that one thing, but it isnt by choice. It's a brain wiring thing. Whether Linus is on the spectrum, or is just a jerk I can't say. But hopefully this will help him and everyone in the community. I see people trolling him for making this choice, and I wonder what is wrong with them for opposing someone bettering themselves.

@Ricardus Before he made the announcement, I wondered if perhaps his abrasive language was due to him not being a native speaker and having an emotional distance to English, causing him to make very strong statements without sensing their gravity. English is on everyone's lips in the Nordic countries, but it's often the pop culture version of it, with hip hop slang and movie quotes, and that's quite different from polite conversation.

@Ricardus Linus' style of English reminds me of what one might call "Euro Hacker English", somewhat formal and academic, but with strong words inserted at strategic moments when a feature is broken ("fucked") or poorly implemented ("stinks"). It's what results when a nerd learns English mostly from technical texts, IRC and visual media.

@thorthenorseman The northern european people I've talked with always seemed to have excellent english, to me. Isn't it taught over there as a required language?

@Ricardus Nordic speakers of English are often surprisingly fluent, with good pronunciation, but I've noticed that the *registers* of English are often lost on them, causing them to mix up rude, casual and formal language.

@Ricardus It's mandatory in the schools, yes, but they don't teach you the subtler parts of it. You get some solid basics, but then immersion takes over, and the learning becomes unguided.

@thorthenorseman I had that issue with a Bosnian woman who is a housekeeper for a friend's mom, but she's nowhere what I would call fluent. She's just sort of conversational. I would consider true fluency understanding those subtler parts of nuance.

@Ricardus I notice a lot of little mistakes when I hear Norwegians speaking English. It's usually nothing terrible, but it's often enough to make me cringe. Not everyone gets a good *grade* in English even if they did take it in school. When I say fluent, I mean that people can speak it without awkward pauses, and I'd add a "native" level above it for people who speak it at the level you'd call "fluent".

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