Zach Sorenson

I’m a graduate student at Stanford studying computer science and public policy. I am an avid outdoorsman, an advanced procrastinator, and an unaccomplished violinist. Self-respecting computer science major that I am, I put together this website so friends and family — and future employers? — can see what I’ve been up to.

Recent updates


November 11, 2015

A letter to Mormon Apostle Dallin H. Oaks

Dear Elder Oaks,

You probably don’t remember me, but we met when you visited Oakland last February. At my father’s suggestion, I had driven up from school that Sunday morning to hear your remarks.

There was no way you could have known this at the time, but I had spent a lot of time during the previous few weeks wrestling with my sexuality. I had not yet told anyone that I was gay, but had come to at least personally accept that part of my identity. The weekend you and I both came to Oakland was the first time I had come home since reaching this understanding. To be honest, I don’t remember much of what you talked about, because...

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October 4, 2015
Patching Problems and the Patriot Missile Defense System
September 4, 2015
August 24, 2015
Sunlight joins coalition demanding Congressional Research Service reports be published online
August 12, 2015
Track which federal websites are using HTTPS with Pulse
August 2, 2015

Mormons should embrace gay Boy Scout leaders

When I became an Eagle Scout four years ago, nobody knew I was gay — I was still in the process of accepting it myself. If I had told anyone, I would not have been given the award, despite a decade of involvement with scouting, countless hours with dozens of volunteers installing a garden at my elementary school and more than a hundred nights camping in the California wilderness.

Becoming an Eagle Scout was one of my proudest achievements as a teenager. My parents were thrilled as I was presented with the award in the Mormon chapel where my dad, the bishop of our local congregation and a former scoutmaster, had received his. As I thanked my peers and leaders...

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July 30, 2015
NASA’s EPIC photographs: Sunlight and open data on a global scale
July 24, 2015
DNC retreats, lifts ban on money from lobbyists and PACs
July 17, 2015

First and potentially only post

Well, I made a blog for some reason. Actually I made a website and the blog was enabled by default so I kept it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a very frequent written communicator. When I lived in Panama for a summer as a volunteer with Amigos (pictured), I sent one letter home during the entire summer — to my parents’ great dismay (not pictured). So there’s a solid chance I may not post here again.

But if I do end up with something interesting to share and some time to write it up — or more realistically, if I’m supposed to be writing a paper for school and want to procrastinate — maybe I will. You...

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July 13, 2015
Pilot program will publicize all FOIA responses at select federal agencies
July 10, 2015
Court ruling could spur action on greater disclosure of contractor contributions
May 7, 2015
Privacy in the European Union and the United States