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There’s no worldwide database of locally elected officials. What if we tried to fix this by creating an adventure to scrape the world in 80 days?
The idea is a mixture between Gumball3000, 500 Startups, and Code for America. We would create teams for each country that people could join to gather (scrape) that country’s data before the 80 day timer is up. Motorcycle, bike or ride a truck across the country, whatever needs to be done to scrape the data about local governance. Teams upload the data to the site and get points for speed, difficulty, and size. Pictures, videos, and stories add more points too. Winning teams go down in history as having participated in a global internet day of action, similar to the crowdsourced documentary Life in a Day, the International Day of Peace,or 350.org’s global day of action “Moving Planet”, Twestival, or any other of a number of synchronous global events.
The internet makes us smile. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of Aaron Swartz. I designed some t-shirts with the principles that he fought for. In that spirit I hope it makes you smile and reminds you and others that we are working for an open and intellectual world where individuals are empowered and society stands up for the little guy.
What if there was a resource that aggregated every government official from around the world down to the district level? If we’re going to be serious about government transparency and digital democracy, this is sorely needed.
What if people around the world could sign a petition for free using just a regular mobile?
Kenya is an exciting innovation hub spurring creative projects and pursuing steady progress. How long can this sustain and how will the upcoming elections fare, given the violence of the not-so-distant past?
Narrative is a crucial element for any war, whether on Bin Laden in Afghanistan or on Joseph Kony in Uganda. Generally this narrative, to settle public debate and drive broad sentiment towards a single goal, is one-sided and oversimplified. An opposing narrative is difficult to craft because it must either be complex, therefore hard to process, or also simple but contrarian. However, the first one to the narrative struggle usually claims “nationality” or “humanity” as part of the story, so that contrarians can be portrayed as threats or something less than human, and thus preventing a counter-narrative.
I just returned from biking across the Dominican Republic and Haiti. An epic experience through these beautiful countries. You can check out some of the pics and stories on the blog we kept throughout the journey at bikehispaniola.tumblr.com and find out why I decided to make the trip through my blog post at Digital Democracy.
"In the digital era, it's easier to conflate participation with democracy. This is a dangerous and unfortunate trend as it degrades the very concept of what a democracy can and should be: a transparent, participatory, and accountable means of representative governance."