Social media is new-age journaling, except it’s public or semi-public to your friends, and it doesn’t disappear when you throw it away.

You could go on for a while about the effects of those differences, but the general result is journaling becomes a mental health negative rather than a positive. Old-school journaling is a way to express feelings in a safe way, but social media is very unsafe. On social media, half-formed thoughts and momentary emotions aren’t appropriate. There is no mercy and thoughts can’t evolve. …


Photo by Jasmin Ne on Unsplash

I want to preserve some notes on the opinion piece in the New York Times called “Pope Francis: A Crisis Reveals What Is in Our Hearts”.

First, for context, the COVID-19 pandemic rages for a new wave across the world as winter comes. Though, multiple effective vaccines are on the horizon.

Second, the US Supreme Court, led by a majority of Catholic members including the new justice Amy Coney Barrett, voted 5–4 to prevent New York from imposing COVID-19-related size limits on church meetings.

Third, much of this opinion piece is taken from Pope Francis’s new book, Let Us Dream…


I’m remembering Church promises many of us have made, to be willing to obey, sacrifice, and maybe give everything to help others and the greatest good. I’m thankful for the deep way these principles have gotten to my heart. It’s not just something that I say, and I’m not sure I can take credit for that.


I’m thankful for books and school.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I did not grow up privileged financially. One primary factor is, neither of my parents came from families with money, and at the point where our family might have started to make good money because of their learning and growth, my parents divorced. Despite that and other obstacles, I’ve received a world-class education. Maybe it was chance, but most of my public school experience was in a school system in Lafayette, Indiana, influenced by a top university. The school system had an accelerated program that started in second grade. I had amazing opportunities there…


I am thankful for my family.

I know it isn’t easy to have a family and I don’t take it for granted. And, this gift is special to me now because on the difficult days when I step away from work to destress, I naturally come to think of my children’s faces and then I feel joy.


I’m thankful for the people who helped me grow up.

This is also for family that helped me, but specifically for influential teachers, soccer coaches, and church mentors. Many of them were there at the right time in the right place to guide my course. And the course so far has been extraordinary!


Through this semester, I’ve been grateful for how great today is, living in this time and this country and this world.


Here are some things that make a difference to me:

  • “Swipe” to type is much more accurate. It is predicting the words I want to say much better, even when I’m not quite hitting the letters while swiping.
  • I can hide all my “screens” (go into jiggle mode, then click the dots at the bottom of the screen above the dock). I like just having a photo. Slide in from left and I have all the widgets. Slide in from right and I have the app drawer. Pull down for notifications.
  • Text selection and cursor movement is much more accurate and fluid (but you have to get use to the new way).

Maryland blossoming trees

Where do you look to find people like you? Are they the people you work with? Are they the people in your major at school?

Say you were trying to find a serious relationship? Where do you go looking? How would you know that you’re There?

My group of friends has changed every time I’ve moved — often. I recently noticed I had found new friends in unintuitive places. For instance, if I had isolated myself in one of my hobbies’ or studies’ social circles, I certainly would not have met my wife. Furthermore, I’m grateful that she and I…


When you’re a developer (coding) or programmer, you often find yourself on Stack Overflow. One of the reasons is there are very many common programming problems, and you can find the best solution for these “utility” things just by searching.

For instance, most programs will need to deal with time. Storing time and doing math on time is easy in, say, seconds. The computer should think just in seconds. But when you show the human the answers, you’re going to need to show them dates and hours and you need to account for leap seconds. Converting times is extremely common…

Joseph Hansen

Computer programmer, book reader, US soccer fan, genealogist, @BYU alum, @jhuapl. Member, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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