Change the World

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We software developers are lucky, lucky people. We have great jobs. We are actually paid to sit around and think about stuff, then write it down. Wow. That is a very good deal. But it gets better. See, I think that programming is actually physically addictive, in the same (well, similar) way that athletes get addicted to exercise: they long for that endorphin high. Consider the world around you. Full of very serious problems, from family issues to climate change, Middle East conflicts to corporations run amok. You could almost get depressed reading the newspaper in the morning (if you still do that. I do).

OK, then we programmers come to work. Our managers tell us "Write a program to do X, Y or Z." In other words, write a program to solve a problem. And, wow, but look at that: a problem we can solve! So we dive into our little cyberworld, move bits and bytes around - and solve a problem. And when we do, I think that our brain gives us a little chemical stimulation: "Good work, Sally! Do more of that! That will help you survive!" And so we get hooked on programming.

That's great - but there are still these problems in the real world to solve. So over the years I have gotten involved in various efforts to correct some terrible injustices. 

These days, I help organize support for refusers: men and women from both Israel and Palestine who refuse to fight each other. For more information, check out the Refuser Solidarity Network.

I also am a firm believer that television in general and advertisements in particular are a great source of danger to human civilization. The best way I know to battle this ongoing effort by corporations to manipulate and coerce us into making bad decisions as consumers and citizens is to support Consumers Union and their incredible resource, Consumer Reports.

If millions of people join Consumers Union and buy things based on their objective analyses, if millions of people say no to sponsored Google links, if millions of people turn off their TV or at least do everything possible to reject the impact of ads, this world will become a far more just and peaceful place.