Friday, December 30, 2011

Let there be light

The Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other scriptural texts are full of symbolism that uses light. God is light and uses light; those who oppose Him work in darkness (see the links in this sentence for some examples). I've noticed a phrase that is used repeatedly in the Book of Mormon: "God worketh not in darkness." Of course, we are encouraged to emulate Him.

There are many ways to apply this idea. I'd like to focus on honesty and openness.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Different ways of looking at programming

People are frequently mystified by the fact that I do things with computers. From their reactions, you'd think that because I program, I'm some sort of intellectual demigod. When I talk with them a little more, it becomes clear to me that many people don't know what programming is like, so they imagine something much more difficult and specialized than it is (it turns out that your computer is not made out of magic, despite this amusing article).

As is the case with any profession, it takes a lot of work to do it right. I'm not minimizing the training that other programmers and I have received. But we're not superhuman - even if most of us claim to be.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The problem with girl power

I’m all about empowering women. Those who know me well know this. Lots of people seem to see the same issues that I see. At least, they see some of what I see. It’s common for people to promote women’s rights in print (both physical and virtual), in movies, and in music. I’m all for it. But popular statements about girl power are frequently counterproductive to the empowerment of women.

Allow me to illustrate with some lyrics from BeyoncĂ©, Shania Twain, and Rihanna.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Flirting today

Flirting is hard these days. It's not that there aren't good people to meet. It's not just that flirting has always been hard. There are societal effects in place today that add difficulty that, to my knowledge, has never existed before. Please forgive me as I indulge in stereotypes – and don’t wear the shoe if it doesn’t fit.

Men have to deal with the possibility of being branded as "creepy." A man becomes creepy when he violates social protocol, as it is perceived by others. This is frequently unfair to the men in question: as much as we’d like to think that there are universal standards, or even societal standards, everyone is a little different and has different rules. We all communicate differently (in fact, I have an entire blog post about it), so a woman may reject a man in a way that is both clear and gentle to her, but that doesn’t communicate rejection to him at all. The fault here belongs to both parties, but calling him a "creeper" places all the blame on him. To further complicate matters, men are encouraged to break social protocol for the women they love – as long as he doesn’t go too far, a man can express sincerity by going beyond social norms. But it only works when she’s interested; if not, going beyond is unquestionably creepy.

Some women experience something remarkably similar;