The n-th power of an ideal is easy to compute, though difficult to describe geometrically. In contrast, symbolic powers of ideals are difficult to compute while having a natural geometric description. In this talk, I will describe how to compare ordinary and symbolic powers of ideals using the techniques of positive-characteristic commutative algebra, especially in toric rings and Hibi rings. This is based on joint work with Javier Carvajal-Rojas, Janet Page, and Kevin Tucker. The talk will be aimed at a broad audience of pure mathematicians, so graduate students are encouraged to attend!