If you’ve never programmed a computer, you should. There’s nothing like it in the whole world. When you program a computer, it does exactly what you tell it to do. It’s like designing a machine — any machine, like a car, like a faucet, like a gas-hinge for a door — using math and instructions. It’s awesome in the truest sense: it can fill you with awe.

A computer is the most complicated machine you’ll ever use. It’s made of billions of micro-miniaturized transistors that can be configured to run any program you can imagine. But when you sit down at the keyboard and write a line of code, those transistors do what you tell them to.

Most of us will never build a car. Pretty much none of us will ever create an aviation system. Design a building. Lay out a city.

Those are complicated machines, those things, and they’re off-limits to the likes of you and me. But a computer is like, ten times more complicated, and it will dance to any tune you play. You can learn to write simple code in an afternoon. Start with a language like Python, which was written to give non-programmers an easier way to make the machine dance to their tune. Even if you only write code for one day, one afternoon, you have to do it. Computers can control you or they can lighten your work — if you want to be in charge of your machines, you have to learn to write code.

Cory Doctorow, Little Brother


Writers need the freedom to invoke mayhem, sexuality, moral ambiguities, and twisted visions for as many reasons as chefs need the freedom to invoke curry, garlic, Chinese mustard, and other substances we can’t tolerate in large doses, in order to produce a fine cuisine. There is no mention of jalepeño peppers in the Bible, and neither the average child or average televangelist can handle them: this is no reason to legislate them clean out of our huevos rancheros.


David James Duncan, God Laughs & Plays, pp41-42.

A time comes when silence is betrayal…men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war…the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak…Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them?…We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Speech at Riverside Church