Top Ten Sexy Geeks 2009

Photo of Sexiest Geek Couple 2009 Jessy Cowan-Sharp and Robbie Schingler by rocketqueen.

Researched and culled all year, then boiled down with nominations and my own personal invention: the trademarked, nerdlust-powered, drink-dispensing, algorithmic GILF-O-Tron 9000 — it’s the Top Ten Sexy Geeks of 2009.

To say that I got more nominations than I could handle would be an understatement — and yes, some people even tried to stuff the ballot box. Naughty. Almost 100 comments, blasted to newslists, emailed, SMS’d DM’d on my Twitter… There were more sexy geeks to choose among than I’d ever imagined. It it getting hotter in here on the Internet, or what? Take a walk down sexy geek memory lane and ask where they are now (2005, 2006, 2007-8) — as many selections were not yet web luminaries, and that’s the score. No one from the previous top ten are allowed: it’s got to stay fresh. For instance, Ariel Waldman was nominated this year more than once but she was already in last year’s top ten (and held the up title nicely all year long, I’ll add — as has everyone else). Do remember: the list is nomination fueled, but the final selections are mine, making this a personality-driven list. This list is my choosing: no celebrities who likely wouldn’t talk to you at a party, no voting (this list includes people who hack exploits, hello), and they’ve got to have geek integrity — more than a web show about gaming and a Twitter account. It’s like this: you’ve got to be able to imagine them deliciously cracking every last nerve ending of DRM from your iTunes downloads and talking dirty about their Android apps — in your bed.

This year was tough: Sexy geeks are *everywhere*. And the world is a much better, sexier place for it. Celebrities who get an honorable mention include Morgan Webb, actress Felicia Day and — Keith Olbermann, who was nominated more times than Webb and Day! Joss Whedon got a shout, and so did Dr. Kevin Grazier, the science advisor to Battlestar Galactica. There were male and female noms alike for Nate Silver (see also). But as celebrities they have a natural advantage by nature — and this list is not about the popular brainy kids. Even if they are drop-dead sexy.

At the top, feast your eyes on the Sexiest Geek Couple 2009 Jessy Cowan-Sharp and Robbie Schingler: it’s an added category. It had to be done: Robbie Schingler is the Capture Lead for the TESS Mission and NASA CoLab Co-founder, at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. Jessy Cowan-Sharp is a Collaborative Web Technology developer and NASA CoLab Co-founder at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View CA. Oh you sexy, sexy geeks…

Runners up include:

* Dr. Kiki! Kirsten Sanford: hottest neurophysiology PhD scientist EVER.
* Dr. Angela Belcher: MIT professor (director of the Biomolecular Materials Group) — talk about hot for teacher.
* Amber MacArthur: she’s unstoppably nerdy and sexy, and I love how she looks like Claire from “Heroes”.
* Tantek Celik: if this list could go up to 11, this one would crank it up; whipsmart, head of the Microformats Mafia, rock-climber…
* Rachel Maddow: Stanford public policy geek, on MSNBC and Air America, had several noms, is the only out LGBT anchor to host a prime time news program.
* Michael S. Galpert: co-created collaborative web image app Aviary, taken, but quite easy on the eyes…
* Jiz Lee: porn performer, blogger/columnist for OurChart “The Official Website of The L Word”, serious behind the scenes code nerd. I love that on websites she’s “Gender: unknown.”
* Stephanie Pakrul — Steph the Geek is incredible.
* Julie Hammers: gorgeous nerd, developer of the kickass widgets in my sidebars (Widgetbox), and DJ. Hot, hot, hot.

* * * * * * *

Top Ten Sexy Geeks 2009

10. Brad Fidlr

Photo of Brad Fidlr by Jessica Mullen.

There’s no denying this suave-looking geek has a cult following for his 12seconds channel and phone-video app experimentation, as evidenced by the storm of nominations I got for him. At first I suspected foul play. And then I poked around and saw that this is one hell of a sexy geek. Brad Fidlr dabbles in things like Geo-Locating Internet History and he works with the Internet Origins Group at UCLA, while studying arpanet/internet and psychiatric drug market strategy. All the girls melt when they see his Twitter photo.


9. Joanna Rutkowska

Photo of Joanna Rutkowska via rutkoska.

Joanna Rutkowska (blog) is the controversial Polish hacker girl (rare, rare, rare), I mean security specialist, who is “primarily known for her research on stealth malware and contributions to Windows Vista backdoor installation and hiding techniques.” She’s beautiful and dangerously brilliant; a lethally sexy combination. I think this picture says it all…


8. Daniel Burka

Photo of Daniel Burka by adactio (Jeremy Keith).

The creative director at Digg and partner at silverorange; Daniel Burka also helped found Pownce where he designed the UI — he possesses a combination of adorable awkwardness and magnetism that typifies a certain kind of sexy geek; his friends describe him as warm and your “basic hot, sweet nerdy designer.” They did not say the word “nerdlicious”, but we can *and* enjoy the scenery (him) while doing so, even if he’s taken.


7. Jeri Ellsworth

Photo of Jeri Ellsworth via Google Images, needs attribution.

Jeri Ellsworth drove me to distraction the moment I saw her and started researching her incredible body (of work) — she’s a hardware hacker and uber-babe best known for creating a Commodore 64 emulator joystick that could run 30 games, and being a self-taught computer chip designer: she taught herself to program by reading the C64’s manual. What’s super cool is that she was a dirt track race car driver as a kid, and now she’s a pinball machine fetishist — and you can see her work on her latest obsession on her Flickr stream, which has lots of knee-weakening images of machine tools. She likes Maker Faire. Drool.


6. Alex Sotirov

Alex Sotirov
Photo of Alex Sotirov by Furry Girl.

Hot hacker boys: you are irresistible. Alex Sotirov is no exception to this rule, though in fact probably thinks rules are really cute as he breaks them regularly and presents the findings at Black Hat cons — but what really cinched it with this incredibly hot boy was that he co-presented a paper at this year’s Black Hat Conference titled simply, “How to Impress Girls with Browser Memory Protection Bypasses.” It was controversial and Sotirov met all the public criticism with reason and grace — but we’re definitely, ahem, impressed.


5. Alisa Leonard-Hansen

Self-portrait of Alisa Leonard-Hansen.

I visit Alisa Leonard-Hansen’s extremely nerdy blog about social media and I watch her fun videos, and I hear the sounds she makes but all I can think is gorgeous… She Tweets musings like “imagine a Web in which every experience and touch point had intuitive social context based on a user’s graph data. awesome or creepy?” She’s a social media strategist, which has a very sinister ring to it like the job title comes with a supervillain outfit of the very tight and fetishy variety, and makes her seem like a social media futurist of the X-Men flavor. Maybe that’s just *my* fantasy. Or maybe not.


4. Tim Ferriss

Image of Tim Ferriss by Corey Arnold.

I’m pretty much convinced that there’s nothing handsome geek Tim Ferriss can’t do: he’s famous for authoring and speaking about the tech-focused Four Hour Workweek and has a devoted following as a result — he’s made life easier and simpler for the stressed out with his work-Zen-fu techniques. He’s fiercely determined in that obsessed-geek way about anything he sinks his teeth into, as evidenced by his freshly debuted TV show, “Trial by Fire” where he has only one week to attempt to learn something that’s usually learned over 5-20 years. Fearless + nerdy = hot. He also holds the Guinness Book of World Records’ record for the most consecutive tango-spins in one minute. Seriously.


3. Zadi Diaz

Self-portrait of Zadi Diaz.

Stunning and seriously smart Zadi Diaz is not just the co-creator and host of web show Epic-Fu, she’s also a tech-obsessed hottie who spends much time geeking out about video and loves to teach people about social media and making web video with a hands-on, “here’s how” approach. Follow any of her online media feeds, and you’ll see that her sense of humor about the world is only a *teeny* bit snarky and altogether infectious. Diaz also happens to be totally beautiful. w3rd.


2. Chris Messina

Photo of Chris Messina by kk+.

The nominations for Chris Messina were off the charts — but he was already on the list, so all of the heterosexual men who felt the need to contextualize their noms for Messina to me are still totally cool. (For real: “I’m straight but he’s hot!” was uttered more than once.) He’s done a lot of stuff, but we can just stare at him for a while before having to actually *think* about anything… Ah, objectification. However, if you need some cred to make it worse, he actually co-founded the BarCamp and coworking communities, and works at Vidoop in addition to working on the DiSo Project, “facilitating the development of the “Open Stack” for the social web.” Yeah, stacking. Decentralize us, Messina. Just do it real slow.


1. Cyan Bannister

Photo of Cyan Bannister by Merkley???.

By nomination and opinion, Cyan Bannister ruled the list out the door: but what did it was when I started getting noms for “that nerd girl in that MC Chris video” — it’s her. She founded Zivity, combining pretty naked girls, social media aspects, strong privacy ethics and a revolutionary revenue sharing system based on quality of work and splits with models and photographers, all in a way I really appreciate on a lot of levels — she gets that user generated content should be based on incentive, user participation and even-handed revenue distribution. Collaborative pin-ups, ethical startup business model… Oh, and — cherry on top — here’s the video:

Update 12.21: The list is on Digg! Thank you! Also, Doc Pop is none too pleased to be passed over for the list: did I mention that my crushes don’t go on this list? However, ’tis an oversight, for sure. Help me with my guilt by voting for him on the Wired’s 12 days of Geekmas contest where he is indeed a “perfect 10”.

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