Jan, 2020 back to Sep, 2009: (nothing)
Full disclaimer: I am a man.
And that, many assume, makes me better at computing than if I were a woman.
To me, such reasoning is, on the surface, patently absurd. What possible difference should testosterone or estrogen make in typing or programming skills? Yet here I work, sifting through resumes and interviewing candidates during my last few days of software engineering, and nary a woman has sat across from me. All my engineer coworkers, past and present, are men. Even at school, lecture halls infusing 200 students with computer knowledge would never seat 10 women. I can only conclude that there is a huge absence of women in computing.
And so, runs the thinking, it must be women's choice.
Aug, 2009 back to Jan, 2009: (nothing)
This story has hit all major news websites, but I want to plug it here, too: Ben Affleck's five-minute film about the UNHCR in Eastern Congo. (UNHCR means United Nation High Commission for Refugees: the agency that sets up refugee camps.)
The film has smiling people, which constantly awes me when I witness poverty, and which Ben Affleck deliberately wanted to demonstrate: these are real people. Hats off for an unconventional and powerful approach to the genre.
(The documentary cleverly omits the part of the story where the UNHCR sheltered the army of genocidaires largely responsible for starting this conflict, back in 1994; but it also refrains from reminding us that we the Western people spent decades hurling causes of war into the region, so I suppose both oversights cancel each other out.)
Again, watch this five-minute film about an entire people's way of life. It should help put our own economic crises into perspective.
I was planning another blog post today about New York, but with the world the way it is, I cannot bring myself to write it.
- In Democratic Republic of the Congo, a new French word is born: reviolé. Rebel forces plunder all they can from the villages they attack (with an insinuation of the word plunder more evil than most people can fathom). Government soldiers, defeated, extract everything they can from the people they are paid to protect as they retreat. Atrocity rates are so unfathomably massive that women who have been raped in several, unrelated incidents is becoming a nonzero demographic. The Congolese government looks in the other direction while its own employees commit atrocities; the UN peacekeepers (the largest UN peacekeeping force in the world) cower in impotence, other international bodies are powerless to interfere, ordinary Congolese men are brushed aside, and Congolese women have no recourse: they must suffer, repeatedly, disgusting humiliation I can scarcely imagine.
- Not to be outdone, a 13-year-old rape victim in Somalia is stoned to death on adultery charges by one of the many groups hoping to become a government, in a stadium packed with a thousand murderous men.
My heart goes out to the victims of this most base, evil, vulgar, and despicable crime: especially those women honest and well-meaning enough to shed their dignity and publicize their suffering. I am sickened by the existence of masses of men in the world who are so unmoved as to lower themselves to rape and murder... and by the fact that I have something in common with them.
I wish I could chop theirs off.