Mythbusters’ Adam Savage building Captain Kirk’s chair is all that’s good about being a nerd

Nerds be proud

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There’s a thing non-nerds don’t understand: calling us nerds is not (necessarily) an insult. I’ll explain, but first here’s a video of three nerds wiring up Captain Kirk’s chair from Star Trek: The Original Series. It’s 40 minutes long and it’s mostly men with glasses soldering, but if you are the readers I think you are, you will really enjoy it.

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First of all: so, so cool. With the lights! And the intercom that actually talks to Scottie! Do want.

Secondly, as you might have noticed, one of Starfleet’s finest is Adam Savage from the Discovery show Mythbusters. Along with his partner Jamie Hyneman, the two regularly appear on the YouTube channel Tested. Sometimes it’s showing off their prodigious skills as craftsmen, as in these ‘One Day Builds’ where Adam takes a project from drawing board to completion in a single day.

Like, say, making a movie-accurate version of Han Solo’s blaster from Star Wars, using the original parts…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sCReGjfZ_A?list=PLJtitKU0CAehsdcybehbPFHObmWsKtQcY

Other times it’s designing entirely new gadgets, like these robotic racing spiders…

…or simply a tour round Adam Savage’s incredible workshop, stuffed full of original and replica film props. It’s like Willy Wonka’s factory. For nerds. With power tools.

The nerd appeal of all of this is pretty obvious. After all, Adam is a man who owns his own Terminator…

But it also shows the more admirable side of nerdom: fixation married with enthusiasm. The care and attention to detail Adam brings to all of his prop replicas is incredible, and best demonstrated by his lifelong quest to produce an absolutely perfect version of Harrison Ford’s gun from Blade Runner. From tracking down photo references to disassembling real guns, this isn’t obsession, this is art.

Adam even obsesses about things you didn’t know you could obsess about, like the hedge maze from The Shining…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAGu2TPt_78?list=PLJtitKU0CAehsdcybehbPFHObmWsKtQcY

…or the ‘Burn Bag’ from the Bourne Identity, down to the typefaces on the fake passports…

…or dressing up as a Napoleonic Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars…

But actually it’s Tested’s less movie focussed moments that show nerdom at its best, spending hours building model kits or puttering around the workshop.

When every person, commenter and forum user on the Internet seems determined to prove that nerds are hyperventilating misogynist, it’s pleasing to watch two guys (one of whom starred in Battlestar Galactica) meticulously assembling some toy spaceships.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHITcrnGn1U?list=PLJtitKU0CAehsdcybehbPFHObmWsKtQcY

Even basic DIY projects become oddly compulsive when you’re watching someone who really knows what they’re doing. Here Adam is modifying the button on a torch…

And here he is bending a tiny piece of aluminium to make a holster for his Swiss Army knife. The video is half an hour long and has almost 1 million views.

This is the side of nerdom that bubbles under all of the hyperbole and memes. It comes close to defining what it means to be a modern nerd. Essentially: minutia matters. Nerdom is an absolute devotion to the absolutely trivial, whether that’s in a film you like or in your day to day life. Sometimes that expresses itself in fanart and costumes. Sometimes that obsession causes you to build a carrying case for a stuffed beaver.

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It’s all, in its own quiet way, a celebration of the finer side of nerdery. If you are the readers I think you are, then you’re about to lose hours flicking through the Tested archive. I’ll see you there, nerds.