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July 27, 2010

Geek Merit Badges

A recent comment by Nullspace has led me down the rabbit hole again, to emerge only after seeing unexpected things and with a portion of my life irretrievably spent. Nullspace wrapped up his eloquent essay Passing Parking Pontifications by saying "I'll award anybody who's read this whole post a merit badge".

This got me to thinking: What kinds of merit badges would you invent for blogs? The mother of merit badges, of course, is Scouting. Among the existing and legitimate merit badges that might apply to this blog, I found these two, for computers and bicycling.

But wait there's more! The New York Times suggests a merit badge for providing your family with home tech support. Are you keeping your Mom's wifi network running? Kind of locked into it, whether you want to or not? This badge is for you.

The website Nerd Merit Badges offers several merit badges for your purchase, including this merit badge for achieving "Zero Email Bounce", which is the condition of keeping an empty inbox. I strive for ZEB, but my progress to date has left me convinced that it's a journey (ZEB-vana?) rather than a realistic goal.

Nerd Merit Badges also offers a merit badge for "full stack web developers". A full stack web developer is defined by Randy Schmidt as someone that does design, markup, styling, behavior, and programming.

Science Scouts offers a lengthy list of geek merit badges (digital only, but isn't that what we're all about?) for downloading. My favorite right off the bat is the "interdisciplinary merit badge", AKA the "Somewhat confused as to what scientific field I actually belong to" badge. I like to think of it as a Venn Diagram Merit Badge.

Lest we seem a misogynist, let me point out that artist Mary Yeager has produced series of female-oriented merit badges, including badges for various rites of passage for women. The badge to the right celebrates "at-home pregnancy test". It's a pretty thorough list of merit badges.

Final question: what would a Burgh merit badge be? What would you do to earn it?


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