A civic-minded citizen seeking the singularity

An entry

Working with the US Code of Law

Date: 2013-08-25
Status: idea
Tags: law legislation project ruby visualization

In the Summer of 2010, I had the opportunity to intern at Sunlight Labs in Washington DC. Sunlight Foundation is the premier transparency organization in the United States. Upon my arrival, I joined the intern group for the Sunlight Olympics, and in 2 days, we created Coleslaw in effort to convey the complexity of the US Code of Law. Within the 50 Titles of the Federal Code, programmatically, we found more than 50,000 references in and between the code itself.

In systems terminology, this would be considered a highly complex and coupled system. Unfortunately, modern engineers understand the importance and value of de-coupled systems.

The Coleslaw project used Arc Diagrams, Node Diagrams, and explored a few UI features useful for exploring law with more context than before.


In August 2011, I picked up the code again when I found the Arc Diagram generator that Protovis offers. I just started playing around at http://sandbox.afomi.com/ui/protovis-custom, and I'll post more when I get a chance to explore some of the ideas in code.