“He wasn’t sure what to do. If he left the rock, it would only take a few minutes of desert air to dry his pool, and then all that would remain of him would be a small crucible of brown powder, a powder the wind would find and scatter. He wished to stay there, to protect the pool.
“But after a time, he thought differently. He understood that if he stayed upon the rock, he would simply disappear as well. And so, he rose.”
—Scott Anderson, from Triage.
This 16-Year-Old Made an App That Exposes Sellout Politicians
With US politics swimming in so much corporate money that it’s pretty much an oligarchy, it can be hard to keep track of which particular set of lobbyists is trying to milk more cash out of healthcare, fossil fuels and other very important issues from one week to the next.
But thanks to 16-year-old Nick Rubin, keeping track of just how much politicians have sold out has become a lot easier. He created Greenhouse, a new browser plugin which operates under the motto, “Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.” The plugin aims “to shine light on a social and industrial disease of today: the undue influence of money in our Congress.” It sounds like a bit of a lofty aim for an app, but it’s actually pretty simple and effective—it provides a break down of a politician’s campaign contributions when that politician’s name comes up in an article. It is currently available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari and is completely free. As you can imagine, reading about how your Member of Congress voted in a recent health bill becomes all the more enlightening if you know how much money the health industry showered him in at the last election.
I spoke to Nick Rubin about the plugin, politics and what he calls the “money stories” behind what you read in the news.
VICE: Hi Nick. So how did you come up with the idea for Greenhouse?
Nick Rubin: Back in seventh grade, I gave a presentation on corporate personhood and ever since then I’ve been really interested in that issue. I think the one problem is that the sources of income for members of congress haven’t been simple and easily accessible when people have needed it. More recently, I’ve been teaching myself how to code and I thought that something like Greenhouse that puts the data at people’s fingertips would be a perfect solution. It really is the intersection of these two passions of mine—coding and politics. I made it after school and on weekends on my computer.
Why the name?
Well, green is the color of money in the US, and house refers to the two houses of Congress [the Senate and House of Representatives]. The name also implies transparency; greenhouses are see through and they are built to help things thrive.
Where did you get the information on the politician’s donations?
It uses the data from the last full election cycle which was 2012. This is simply because it’s just the most complete set of data that we have. But, the browser does provide access to the most up to date 2014 information by just clicking the name of the politician on the top of the window or theOpenSecrets.org link in the popup. So the 2014 data is just one click away.
I’m intending to update the data as a whole later in the election cycle as the 2014 contributions are more complete. These are updates I’m currently working on, as well as thinking of other ways I can expand the tool.
Fhloston Paradigm 10 minute mix - The Phoenix album is incredible and is release 7th July
They Came from Above. 2013. The series ‘They Came from Above’ is part social commentary and part 1950s sci-fi homage. Each photograph was captured in a single frame at various locations around the Western Cape. By removing the support framework of existing everyday structures found on our horizons, I want people to stop and take note of the technology that now surrounds us. How much do we know about these objects on our horizon and if these structures were transported back in time would people perceive them as alien?
“In reality the past is preserved by itself, automatically. In its entirety, probably, it follows us at every instant; all that we have felt, thought and willed from our earliest infancy is there, leaning over the present which is about to join it, pressing against the portals of consciousness that would fain leave it outside.”–Henri Bergson
'…expanding outwards and folding into other narratives within the larger exhibition Walking Forward-Running Past…'
'Walking Forward-Running Past embraces synchronicity, connection and serendipity, presenting a group of works that explore time’s malleable form, and questioning the linear narrative conventionally measured as past, present, and future.'
Art in General’s 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Walking Forward-Running Past: Zoe Crosher, Will Rogan, Alison O’Daniel, Catherine Czacki, Tim Lee, John Baldessari, Kimberlee Venable, Andrea Geyer, Paul Chan, robbinschilds
Catherine Czacki, 2011
Image courtesy I f*cking love science (FB)
- E.M. Forster (via vintageanchorbooks)