Monthly Archives: May 2009

The spirit of Democracy: all access govenment

I hear the word change a lot these days. Truthfully, there does seem to be an abundance of the stuff lately. Not all of it’s good, but it’s still abundant. The question is, how much of this change is real change? How much of it is going to fundamentally change the way we live?
Todays world is run by yesterday. The people in power are of a different age. The world has moved onto a new game, and they trying play by old rules of an old game. This is true of how our government work. It’s time to upgrade to a swifter more efficient government, and social networking is the key.
Quick fact: you (fellow American) do not live in a true democracy. You live in what is called a representative democracy. You don’t vote on every issue in our government, you elect representatives to do that. One reason for this is the speed of information. While information moves at the speed of light today, it moved at the speed of horse in 1786 (when the constitution was drafted). Basically the time it would take to propose a bill, get the word out, have everyone vote on it, count the votes, let everyone know how the vote turned out, then implement the bill, would take a year or more. One every issue.
So now we have our representatives and they have to vote how we tell them. Not exactly. They can vote however the want. If they want to keep their jobs, they should probably vote with the majority of their constituents. That’s why we have polls, yet another representation of our will. So now what?
We have a unique opportunity here to use the internet to directly impact our government. I envision a government site (call it G-space) where a citizen can view the agenda for congress on any given day, view the details of a bill, and make their opinions known. They could weigh in on any and all voting to be done. G-space would be the congressional version of facebook. A twitter like feature would allow for quick, to the point updates and messaging on both sides.
Everyday I see a blog about some bill being voted on and plea to contact my representative to tell them which way to vote. A dozen times a day I log onto facebook, twitter, and email to stay in touch. Why couldn’t I devote a minute to giving a thumbs up or down to a bill? Congressional leaders would be able to access the other end of the site, and see almost real time what their constituents want. Voting history and how often they voted with or against their constituency would be available at a click. Handy during election time.
There would be no voting by the citizenry here. That would disenfranchise voters without access to the internet. For these voters though, I imagine kiosks in all federal buildings dedicated to giving G-space access to anyone with a voter registration card. Security would also prohibit the possibility of voting on G-space. The idea is to give the voting public greater access and generate greater interest into congressional workings, not participate. For that we would still need election day.
There would be problems to overcome. There would have to be a way to safeguard the system against hacking, and keeping voter ID’s secured. Voter registration numbers plus a password should make it at least as safe as online banking. Throw in validation questions and government level system security just to be safe. Not having the ability to vote is probably the best security, especially since you can just shutdown the system if it’s compromised with out impacting our right to vote.
Our most recent presidential election showed one thing very clearly. The vast majority of our leaders are clueless about the internet and it’s power. President Obama certainly understands it, but I’ll bet if you asked a Senator to twitter you’d get a dirty look. Well, they’re going to have to learn. We can do this. We can do this today if we wanted.
Why am I throwing this out to the ether? I haven’t the foggiest idea how to make this suggestion to someone interested, who would understand it. Congress would probably not care to have their records easily available to a large majority of America. I’m not certain that they would understand the opportunity we have here. They’re not big fans of change. If you like the idea, spread the word. If not, share it with a friend for discussion.



Random I know, but bear with me

As I marvel over blue creme filled Oreos, a thought occurs. Why isn’t there more blue food to eat? I don’t mean the obscenely sweetened artificially colored confections at convenience store check outs. Why aren’t there blue vegetables? Or why not blue meat? With the exceptions of a few berries, our options are limited in the natural world.
What was it about the color blue that was selected against in the long slow march towards todays available produce? Was blue simply too irresistible to early plant eaters? Did the blue fruits and vegetables get eaten first, forcing evolution to select for different colors? Perhaps there was some blue taboo during man’s first agricultural exploits. What ever the reason, blue is certainly under represented in the produce isle.
Being schooled in science, I understand that biology and chemistry pretty much rule out blue meat. However, aside from a few birds and a few fish, we don’t eat many blue animals. Why isn’t blue an option for hair color in the mammal world? Does the same biochemical processes that preclude blue meat also preclude blue hair? No it doesn’t. I once had an Australian Shepard dog that had blue patches of fur (quite common for that breed).
We know that the blue wave lengths reach sea level. We know that it’s commonly reflected back into space by our large bodies of water. Blue has one of the shortest wavelengths in the spectrum. Perhaps it’s not readily absorbed by a large portion of the animal kingdom. Not being used, perhaps it was selected against in favor of reds and greens and browns.
In science fiction, alien food is sometimes blue. It makes me long for first contact with an advanced species that would share with us their technology and blue food. Until that day, I’ll have to settle for artificial coloring. Just imagine though, a blue vegetables in a green salad. It’s so pretty I might actually eat one.


Glass houses, a peeping tom’s best friend…

Previously on Faultcode113’s Blog:

” The resurgent Spanish Inquisition has taken control Cheyenne Wyoming. Citizens are fleeing by the pairs.” White house chief of staff said as he stormed in.
” The weapon was on a train there. If they get a hold of it…” Started the secretary of defense.
” We played right into their hands.” Said the president.
” Mr. President, those buffalo are armed religious fundamentalists, and now they may have access to the most powerful weapon on earth.” Said the Secretary of defense.
” Get me Faultcode113!” Ordered the president.

And now, Faultcode113’s blog…

Back in the world after a brief absence. The taste of buffalo leads me to understand why the Native Americans were so angry about us nearly wiping them out. But I digress, today we’ll be discussing our ever expanding digital presence in the world and why privacy is a relative term. Outrage you say? Scandal? Tool of oppression for the man? Ha!
We use the internet to communicate on a scale that would shock a person mere decades ago. With a few clicks I can post my entire vacation online, check up on everyone I know (and some I don’t), and check a celeb’s twitter. Let’s face it, twitter is passive stalking. I can communicate via email, twitter, IM, or text message to anyone on earth in seconds. Kind of neat, but know that the world is watching.
You who have a picture of yourself wildly drunk in a gay pose with your “best” friend as you profile picture. You who tweeted about how much pot you smoked over your long weekend. You who blogged about how much of an asshole your boss is. You who have built your glass house and complained about government looking in. To all of you who complained about someone finding the electronic skeletons in your closet, I say this. You put them on display. The things we dare not say, we post.
Do you see any pictures on this blog? Are there any names mentioned here? I have taken care to omit those little facts for one reason, privacy. Not mine, but theirs. Does that mean that the details of my life aren’t available to a committed cyber sleuth? Not at all.
Terrorists use the internet. Shocking, but it’s not just for porn anymore. The government, acting in your best interests (their own included), monitors the net for key words that may flag terrorism. When you blog about wanting to blow up (flag) your office. They might find that interesting. Is the FBI going to bust down your door? Probably not.
Does this give them the right to spy? Who’s spying? You sent that blog out to the world. They didn’t hack your computer. You gave them that information. All they had to do was read. Here’s another thing, terrorists use code. The government knows a lot of this code, so they monitor lots of seemingly innocent content for intel.
What about your employer, does he get to spy on you? Again, just reading what you willingly put out there. Calling them assholes online, isn’t any better that doing it in the office. In my day job, they have to trust me with the lives of others. If I write about smoking up on the job (I don’t for the record, boss), then they have every right to fire me. Then again, if you’re an inconsequential employee, the probably don’t care.
Hypocrite you say. Did you not post a blog about someone constantly on your digital trail? I did indeed, and in this case you would be 100% correct. However, nothing said on this blogs has not been said to those who would read it. Still, I hate busybodies, and I have nothing to hide.
At one time our privacy extended as far as our garden walls. Then it went only as far as the drapes over our windows. As technology adds more transparency to our lives, we need to accept responsibility for some of the things it reveals. The internet is a nosy and untrustworthy friend. They will absolutely tell all of your dirty details to anyone who asks. At least they share the other gossip with you.


Just a quick thought…

Years ago, adversity kicked my ass. So I followed it home. I learned it’s habits. I studied it’s ways. I went to the gym and got into better shape. I studied the arts of war and learned to out think and out fight my opponents. I learned better ways to organize and prepare. Then I sought out adversity. We stood there, eyes staring intently at the other waiting for the first move. I made that move. I thanked it. I had nothing to fear from it any longer. It made me a transform myself into a stronger person. Adversity and I still cross blades on occasion, but I’m no longer an easy target. It has to fight for it. Hard.