Friday, March 14, 2008

The Fifth Branch of Government & My Own Crowd-sourcing

The Google-your-government law struck me as an elegant solution to some long-time problems of democracy. In fact, I suspect this sort of transparency is not merely a good, practical, and affordable alternative to greater internal oversight of how the government spends money -- but, in fact, flat out superior. In theory, you could achieve something similar with internal watchdogs within the government -- but then you just run into the "who watches the watchmen" problem. And I think historically the watchdogs just become part of the corruption.

So you just lay all the info out there and let bored nerds on the internet serve as your check and balance -- a special benefit of transparency combined with crowd-sourcing, something really only available due to the technological breakthrough of having the internet piped directly into nerd homes.

NERDS! They're the fifth branch of government!

And it's a good thing because I'm not so sure about the other four lately...

Although, truthfully, our modern news media is probably better than it has ever been in the past (probably our government too). The problem it has is that now news stations/papers are much better at revealing the failures of other news stations/papers and subject to the scrutiny of NERDS! -- who are often ridiculously expert in their incredibly narrow field of expertise, and thus able to show the shortcomings of the news media that, in the past, would have slipped by without question.

Hiking Trails in the Lexington VA area
In a vaguely related bit -- I've added some of my own effort to the crowd-sourcing: posting a bunch of hiking trails in the Lexington VA area to Google maps. Some of the directions to the trails in the guide books were either wrong or horribly confusing, so having them on the map makes it a lot easier.

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