6.6.11

Some websites that need to happen.

1. POST VIDEO OF BRIBERY, MAKE MONEY

http://www.bribespot.com/ already happened. But we need video and audio of the bribery taking place. We need people getting paid for exposing corruption, with credible evidence to boot. Sure audio and video can be faked, but that takes a lot of work and resources and money to do well. Small cameras that can fit in the fabric of your jacket are already out there, but they need the battery life and ease of operation and field of view to make this work. Another 5 years.

2. VOLUNTARY, TRANSPARENT DNA DATABASE

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_DNA_database DNA databases are maintained on a country-by-country basis in the modern world. Great. Now give me a website where I can credibly prove that I have voluntarily added myself to such databases. No "Big Brother" or "1984" style official coercion to get people to give up their privacy. Just a purely voluntary thing.

Why?

I'd put it on my résumé. I'd start selling that website service to people who want to add some credibility to their online dating profiles.

"Hi. I'd like to marry your daughter, Sir. I can't prove to you that I've never committed a crime or done anything bad, but here's proof that I'm willing to bet the rest of my life and my reputation on the fact that I'm a good guy and I don't leave DNA at crime scenes because I don't commit crimes."

Understood that criminals might be smart enough not to leave such evidence, but it seems quite often they do. A little bit of confidence is better than no confidence. Transparency isn't just releasing your birth certificate - transparency is releasing your tax records and leaving yourself open to criticism with a preponderance of evidence saying "I was born in the United States and here are the documents to prove it, and all the supporting circumstantial evidence." Documents can be faked. Conspiracies do happen, but not often, and if it's not a conspiracy then it's usually fairly easy to gather documents to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were here or there or did this or that. Not always, but most of the time.

DNA can also be faked.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_profiling#Fake_DNA_evidence - In 1992 a doctor raped a sedated patient and left semen behind in her underwear. Faced with giving blood to collect his DNA, he implanted tubes with someone else's blood and anti-coagulants in his arms. He was eventually caught anyway. It's entirely possible that cops have gotten away with planting DNA evidence on crime scenes. If they were successful we wouldn't know about it.
In a study conducted by the life science company Nucleix and published in the journal Forensic Science International, scientists found that an In vitro synthesized sample of DNA matching any desired genetic profile can be constructed using standard molecular biology techniques without obtaining any actual tissue from that person.
So someone could take your DNA profile and manufacture evidence, then plant it, which would seem to run counter to my argument, and it does. Problem with that is that faking things and not getting caught takes people, equipment and money and effort. The more people involved, the greater the chance for transparency. It's not a perfect solution, but it adds to a great deal of other circumstantial evidence that you can use to prove your innocence or someone's guilt.

If you have nothing to hide and you don't expect to commit crimes in the future, why not add your DNA to the national database and be proud that you did? Subject to privacy concerns and the safety of your personal information, but that's a risk we take all the time with giving our personal identification information to all kinds of organizations, because it is worth the risk for us.

3. EASY-ACCESS CONVENIENT LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL POLITICAL INFORMATION

Most average voters out there aren't terribly well educated about the people standing for election. It's not always terribly easy to figure out what choices to make of people that you've never heard of. See http://reasonablydoubtingnews.blogspot.com/2010/11/2010-ca-gubernatorial-election_20.html

In the 2010 California election for governor I faced about 98 different names I wish I had known more about. To expect the average voter to spend hours and hours researching every one of those names is simply to expect too much.

Solution: simple, neutral website. No flashy graphics to speed loading time and reliability the night before an election. Plug in your zip code and be directed to a list of all upcoming elections there, with an immediate list of all the people and causes in the next election, with a simple labeling system of Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian, Socialist, Moderate, Fiscal-conservative-social-liberal "tags" chosen by the candidates themselves, with links to their wikipedia entries and their campaign sites for further information.

I have an election tomorrow. I have no time. I go to the website. I know that I'm a fiscal conservative with some liberal social leanings but I want tax reform, death to subsidies, moderately pro-choice and an end to US financial support (private or public) of settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. I plug in "Conservative" in the page and I now have a list of people I'm strongly considering voting for. Not perfect, but it'll work. More information more easily and conveniently available for a majority of uneducated voters without much time or energy to do research. If they have the time, there are the links to click to the relevant wikipedia articles and campaign websites.

4. POST VIDEO/INFORMATION OF FRAUDULENT BOMB DETECTION DEVICES, GET CASH


This one kind of goes hand in hand with the bribery website. Needs a lot less funding, just say $100 per video and in less than a year the whole phenomenon could be stamped out. What am I writing about?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniffex
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADE_651
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/02/AR2010110203290.html

The people who make these fraudulent devices for about $40 sell them for $15000.00 - quite a markup. Authorities are already gunning for them in the UK and elsewhere, but they're still in use in many locations around the world, notably the Middle East and South America.

Citizens sees device being used.
Take picture or video.
Post credible video or set of pictures.
Make $100.

Not allowed to take picture or video - wait, get to a safe location and then record video of what you saw and what happened and where and the frontpage of a local newspaper to sort-of prove that you're legit and not trying to scam us out of money and not uploading something really old. Panel of few people or crowd-sourced people (think Snopes.com, James Randi, respected mainstream journalists etc.) get a chance to weigh in on whether your video is legit or not, examined for video editing and verifiability, then BAM there you go - $100 in cold hard currency which is a fair amount of money in many parts of the world. A whole lot of money for many people in the developing world where superstition and belief in magic is at its strongest.

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