Nothing you can do impresses me.

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The Unlikely Coder

A lot of press lately has been addressing the downsides of coder culture — for example, A. facebook / google / twitter’s latest press releases revealing that less than 20% their technical workforce is female; B. Tim Evko’s discussion on battling constant community pressure toward Information Overload; and C. a recent rant on the “If I have to explain this, you’re too stupid” mentality.  These issues add up to a proliferation of barriers toward so-called “newbs” — people who want to enter the coding community.

girl computer drawing “Hey new coder! I like your enthusiasm. (Nothing you can do impresses me.)”

Coders have hiring power and  with it the ability to admit new code community members on their own terms.  Often, although there are thousands of companies with code teams, those somewhat arbitrary terms can be eerily similar: “Would I want to have beers and shoot nerf guns with this person?” (one cause of “A”), “Is this person…

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Why I am not Charlie

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a paper bird

imagesThere is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it.  Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offense against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyze why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists and psychologists to add to understanding. There will be explanations, and the explanations will be important, but explanations aren’t the same as excuses. Words don’t kill, they must not be met by killing, and they will not make the killers’ culpability go away.

To abhor what was done to the victims, though, is not…

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