December 2011

Gifts for geeks

Now, let’s talk about something serious. You can take geekdom too far. When done so, the cuteness of geekdom is replaced by contempt. A contempt so great it may take years for you to get back in the good graces of your friends. Purchasing any of these three items would push you far beyond the safe zone. These are available at; I won’t place their images here because to do so would risk my own reputation. Suffice it to mention in increasing order of geekiness beyond the pale, the Star Trek Enterprise bottle opener, the Star Trek Enterprise pizza cutter, and, unholy of unholies, the Doctor Who Dalek Projection clock. I need a bath….

Geeky_Gifts_mugGeeky_Gifts_neuro_mug I’ve saved my favorite, the cutest, and the coolest for the last geek gift ideas. My life requires constant boluses of methylxanthines, preferably caffeine. I’ve never turned down a good cup of coffee, and what better to drink from than a geek mug? My personal favorite is the neurotransmitter mug (, although has many others, such as the neurotoxin mug, that are pretty cool, too!

Geeky_Gifts_plush_toyFor the cutest, we go back to plush toys! These nucleotide bases have magnets that attract each other at the proper hydrogen bonding sites, and they look so precious! Aww! The catch is that the designer, Jun Axup, is still raising money for the project. You can help her out and and watch her video about the project ( Heck, she even says that she’s “hoping these dolls will allow scientists to celebrate their geekiness”!

Geeky_Gifts_walking_weevilsThe coolest geek gift is a complete collection of walking weevils — real weevils. Talk about (once) living art! You’ll drop nearly 400 bucks (295 euros) for these beauties, but if you can wait out the possible collapse of the euro, you’ll be able to pick them up on the cheap (

Geeky_Gifts_make_magHere’s a bonus idea, just because I like you. The magazine Make ( has lots of projects that families can work on together. They’re more engineering than science, but they are geeky nonetheless. And having a group project means everybody can share the fun and the excitement of completing a project together. Issue 28 showcases toys and games, so hurry up and build a trebuchet, a giant bubble blower or a video spy copter. Did I mention the DIY Van de Graaff generator (

Enjoy the holidays, and remember it’s not what you buy but the happiness you make and the experiences you share!

John Nelson ( is the editor of ASBMB Today.


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