Artist Nerd, Music Nerd

Mark Mothersbaugh (co-founder of Devo) was born on May 18, 1950

Mark Allen Mothersbaugh is an American musician, composer, singer and painter. He is the co-founder of the new wave band Devo and has been its lead singer since 1972. His other musical projects include work for television series, films, and video games. Mothersbaugh attended Kent State as an art student, where he met Devo co-founders Jerry Casale and Bob Lewis. In early 1970, Lewis and Casale formed the idea of the “devolution” of the human race; Mothersbaugh, intrigued by the concept, joined them, building upon it with elements of early poststructuralist ideas and oddball arcana, most notably unearthing the infamous Jocko-Homo Heavenbound pamphlet (the basis for the song Jocko Homo). This culminated in 1973, when the trio started to play music as Devo. Since Devo, Mothersbaugh developed a successful career writing musical scores for film and television. In film, Mothersbaugh has worked frequently with filmmaker Wes Anderson, and scored most of his feature films (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). His music has been a staple of the children’s television shows Rugrats, Beakman’s World, Santo Bugito and Clifford the Big Red Dog. He also wrote the new theme song for the original Felix the Cat show when it was sold to Broadway Video, some music for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse in 1990 and the theme song for the Super Mario World TV series for DiC Entertainment in 1991.

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Computer Nerd, Science Nerd

Alan Kay (American computer scientist) was born on May 17, 1940

Alan Curtis Kay is an American computer scientist, known for his early pioneering work on object-oriented programming and windowing graphical user interface design, and for coining the phrase, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” He is the president of the Viewpoints Research Institute, and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also on the advisory board of TTI/Vanguard. Until mid 2005, he was a Senior Fellow at HP Labs, a Visiting Professor at Kyoto University, and an Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Kay has lectured extensively on the idea that the computer revolution is very new, and all of the good ideas have not been universally implemented. Lectures at OOPSLA 1997 conference and his ACM Turing award talk, entitled “The Computer Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet” were informed by his experiences with Sketchpad, Simula, Smalltalk, and the bloated code of commercial software. On August 31, 2006, Kay’s proposal to the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) was granted, thus funding Viewpoints Research Institute for several years. The proposal title was: Steps Toward the Reinvention of Programming: A compact and Practical Model of Personal Computing as a Self-exploratorium. A sense of what Kay is trying to do comes from this quote, from the abstract of a seminar on this given at Intel Research Labs, Berkeley: “The conglomeration of commercial and most open source software consumes in the neighborhood of several hundreds of millions of lines of code these days. We wonder: how small could be an understandable practical “Model T” design that covers this functionality? 1M lines of code? 200K LOC? 100K LOC? 20K LOC?”

Comedy Nerd, Internet Nerd, Science Nerd

Ivan Sutherland (American computer scientist and Internet pioneer) was born on May 16, 1938

Ivan Edward Sutherland is an American computer scientist and Internet pioneer. He received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1988 for the invention of Sketchpad, an early predecessor to the sort of graphical user interface that has become ubiquitous in personal computers. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, as well as the National Academy of Sciences among many other major awards. In 2012 he was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology for “pioneering achievements in the development of computer graphics and interactive interfaces”. Sutherland was a Fellow and Vice President at Sun Microsystems. Sutherland was a visiting scholar in the Computer Science Division at University of California, Berkeley (Fall 2005–Spring 2008). On May 28, 2006, Ivan Sutherland married Marly Roncken. Sutherland and Marly Roncken are leading the research in Asynchronous Systems at Portland State University. He has two children, Juliet and Dean, and four grandchildren, Belle, Robert, William and Rose. Ivan’s elder brother, Bert Sutherland, is also a prominent computer science researcher.

Artist Nerd, Music Nerd

Brian Eno (English musician, composer, singer, and visual artist) was born on May 15, 1948

Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, commonly known as Brian Eno or simply as Eno, is an English musician, composer, record producer, singer, and visual artist, known as one of the principal innovators of ambient music. Eno studied at Colchester Institute art school in Essex, England, taking inspiration from minimalist painting. During his time on the art course at the Institute, he also gained experience in playing and making music through teaching sessions held in the adjacent music school. He joined the band Roxy Music as their keyboards and synthesisers player in the early 1970s. Roxy Music’s success in the glam rock scene came quickly, but Eno soon tired of touring and also conflicts with lead singer Bryan Ferry. Eno’s solo music has explored more experimental musical styles and ambient music. It has also been extremely influential, pioneering ambient and generative music, innovating production techniques, and emphasising “theory over practice”. He also introduced the concept of chance music to popular audiences partially through collaborations with other musicians.

Director Nerd, Science Fiction Nerd, Writer Nerd

George Lucas (American film producer, screenwriter, director, and entrepreneur) was born on May 14, 1944

George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones. Lucas is one of the American film industry’s most financially successful directors/producers, with an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion as of 2011. George Lucas was born in Modesto, California, the son of Dorothy Ellinore (née Bomberger) and George Walton Lucas, Sr. (1913–1991), who owned a stationery store. Lucas grew up in the Central Valley town of Modesto and his early passion for cars and motor racing would eventually serve as inspiration for his USC student film 1:42.08, as well as his Oscar-nominated low-budget phenomenon, American Graffiti. Long before Lucas became obsessed with film making, he wanted to be a race-car driver, and he spent most of his high school years racing on the underground circuit at fairgrounds and hanging out at garages. However, a near-fatal accident in his souped-up Autobianchi Bianchina on June 12, 1962, just days before his high school graduation, quickly changed his mind. Instead of racing, he attended Modesto Junior College and later got accepted into a junior college to study anthropology. While taking liberal arts courses, he developed a passion for cinematography and camera tricks. George Lucas graduated from USC in California.

Fantasy Nerd, Science Fiction Nerd, Writer Nerd

Roger Zelazny (American fantasy and science fiction writer) was born on May 13, 1937

Roger Joseph Zelazny was an American writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for his The Chronicles of Amber series. He won the Nebula award three times (out of 14 nominations) and the Hugo award six times (also out of 14 nominations), including two Hugos for novels: the serialized novel …And Call Me Conrad (1965; subsequently published under the title This Immortal, 1966) and then the novel Lord of Light (1967). The ostracod Sclerocypris zelaznyi was named after him. Roger Zelazny was born in Euclid, Ohio, the only child of Polish immigrant Joseph Frank Zelazny and Irish-American Josephine Flora Sweet. In high school, he became the editor of the school newspaper and joined the Creative Writing Club. In the fall of 1955, he began attending Western Reserve University and graduated with a B.A. in English in 1959. He was accepted to Columbia University in New York and specialized in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, graduating with an M.A. in 1962. His M.A. thesis was entitled Two traditions and Cyril Tourneur: an examination of morality and humor comedy conventions in The Revenger’s Tragedy. Between 1962 and 1969 he worked for the U.S. Social Security Administration in Cleveland, Ohio and then in Baltimore, Maryland spending his evenings writing science fiction. He deliberately progressed from short-shorts to novelettes to novellas and finally to novel-length works by 1965. On May 1, 1969, he quit to become a full-time writer, and thereafter concentrated on writing novels in order to maintain his income. During this period, he was an active and vocal member of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, whose members included writers Jack Chalker and Joe and Jack Haldeman among others.

Actor Nerd, Comedy Nerd, Writer Nerd

George Carlin (American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, actor and writer/author) was born on May 12, 1937

George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, actor and writer/author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums. Carlin was noted for his black humor as well as his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. Carlin and his “Seven Dirty Words” comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a narrow 5–4 decision by the justices affirmed the government’s power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves. The first of his fourteen stand-up comedy specials for HBO was filmed in 1977. In the 1990s and 2000s, Carlin’s routines focused on socio-cultural criticism of modern American society. He often commented on contemporary political issues in the United States and satirized the excesses of American culture. His final HBO special, It’s Bad for Ya, was filmed less than four months before his death. In 2004, Carlin placed second on the Comedy Central list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time, ahead of Lenny Bruce and behind Richard Pryor. He was a frequent performer and guest host on The Tonight Show during the three-decade Johnny Carson era, and hosted the first episode of Saturday Night Live. In 2008, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.