I’ve had a private blog for a while, but there’s something unsatisfying about only getting feedback from people who have close to the same set of beliefs that I do. While it’s nice to say things and immediately have comments agreeing with you (or even better, expanding on your arguments and filling in the gaps you left), it’s also nice to get feedback from people who disagree with you, or people who hold opinions you never even thought of, and all sorts of other things. Now, to be honest, this will probably just turn into more of the same, but it’s good to at least give people a chance.
So, what’s so important that I be facing the outside world? There are two mostly disjoint areas: feminism and research. I’ll explain in that order.
I am a straight, white, cis-male living in the United States. You might say that I’m rather privileged (you would be right). You might also say that until recently I was far too ignorant of the world around me (you would be right again). At my best, I probably didn’t have much of an impact on the quality of people’s lives in general. I’ve always been a fan of equality , treating people well, etc, but I’ve never been particularly active about doing so or learning the right ways to do so. At my worst, I’ve hurt people through carelessness, ignorance, and selfishness. Hopefully I’m past that bit, but I want switch things around to where I have a positive impact on things instead of just floating around, being both harmless and helpless.
But this raises an important question: what is the best way to have a positive impact on people’s lives? As far as I can tell, the jury’s still out on this. Sure, there are some obvious things, but a lot of the time, there are multiple, reasonable, contradictory perspectives. Maybe to some people the answer is always obvious, but I’m not there yet. One of the points of this is to get me there. Another is to solicit the opinion of the people who are already there to help me (and possibly others!) on my (their) way. As it turns out, the feminist movement seems to be the one with a lot of the answers, so I think it’s fair to call this part of the purpose “feminism”. It’s about doing the right thing (at least, to me it is; correct me if I’m wrong).
On the other side of things, I’m also a PhD student in computer science. Not your stereotype of some dude with a neckbeard (though I do need to shave) sitting in his parents’ basement browsing 4chan and watching anime while also maintaining his twelve Linux boxes. It’s more like math, really. I won’t get into too much detail here, since the target of this chunk of the blog probably already knows what I’m talking about, but I’m a tremendous fan of logic, programming languages, category theory—that sort of thing. And believe it or not, it’s nice to get outside opinions on that kind of thing, too. I want to make sure I can defend my opinions in a reasonable way, and this seems like a promising way to do it. I’d also like to keep my friends updated on the research I end up doing, and there’s no sense in keeping most of it private, so I might as well put it here, too. Maybe I should make two separate blogs for this, but I barely managed to scrounge up the motivation to do this one, so for now, they’re combined. Who knows what the future will bring!