Perhaps it's sometimes more effective for people who aren't primarily geeks to show their nerdy side. I remember how nice it was when Pink Floyd presented the synthesizer they used in the Dark Side of The Moon, although it wasn't necessary to enjoy the music that was their main focus.
As for education, having Wolfram's Rule 90 as a part of an art class might interest someone in procedural 2D graphics. It's quick and easy to plot on graph paper using simple rules.
Apart from reading and education, what they could do is put cool hackers in movies. And even then, they should be creative. Usually movies depict hackers as someone who basically uses or works around someone else's product (The Matrix, Die Hard 4, I think), which is the idea that non-technical people have of computers in general. That is, they probably don't think they use computer _programs_ - they think they use software _products_. So, instead of being able to just work with existing systems, maybe it would be cool if they also did something original. For instance, someone could set up a time bomb using some kind of sleep(x) command, or something. Use a simple while(true) loop to do... something. Indefinitely. I don't know what, because I'm not cool.