Simon Willison’s Weblog

16 items tagged “politics”

Exploring the UK Register of Members Interests with SQL and Datasette

Ever wondered which UK Members of Parliament get gifted the most helicopter rides? How about which MPs have been given Christmas hampers by the Sultan of Brunei? (David Cameron, William Hague and Michael Howard apparently). Here’s how to dig through the Register of Members Interests using SQL and Datasette.

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Miss Wilson, when she was a resident superintendent in this Palace, had a cat that apparently caught up to 60 mice a night. The corpses were then swept up in the morning. Finally, does the noble Lord recognise the fire hazard that mice pose, because they eat through insulating cables? It would be a tragedy for this beautiful Palace to burn down for lack of a cat.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff # 31st March 2010, 4:06 pm

They Write For You. I helped put together this visualisation of stories written by MPs for various newspapers at last Friday’s ’Hackers and Hacks" hack day. # 2nd February 2010, 9:27 am

Crowdsourced document analysis and MP expenses

As you may have heard, the UK government released a fresh batch of MP expenses documents a week ago on Thursday. I spent that week working with a small team at Guardian HQ to prepare for the release. Here’s what we built:

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HTTP + Politics = ? Mark Nottingham ponders the technical implications of Australia’s decision to apply a filter to all internet traffic. Australia is large enough (and far enough away from the northern hemisphere) that the speed of light is a performance issue, but filtering technologies play extremely poorly with optimisation technologies such as HTTP pipelining and Google’s SPDY proposal. # 15th December 2009, 3:36 pm

MoD sticks with insecure browser. Tom Watson MP used parliamentary written answers to find out that the majority of government departments still require their staff to use IE6, and not all of them have upgrade plans to 7 or 8. Not a single department considered an alternative browser. “Many civil servants use web browsers as a tool of their trade. They’re as important as pens and paper. So to force them to use the most decrepit browser in the world is a rare form of workplace cruelty that should be stopped.” # 24th July 2009, 10:18 am

Early Day Motion to support Bletchley Park Museum. Time to fire up WriteToThem.com and drop your MP a friendly note of encouragement. # 21st July 2009, 1:56 pm

The Straight Choice | The election leaflet project. Nice crowdsourcing app by Richard Pope, Francis Irving and Julian Todd—UK political leaflets are hard to keep tabs on due to the way they are distributed over small geographical areas, so this site encourages you to take photos of leaflets delivered to your home and tag them with postcode, party and key topics. # 8th June 2009, 4:23 pm

We are facing an economic crisis that is within our capacity to solve, and an ecological crisis that we lack the political means to prevent. It’s only by failing at the former that we might have a chance at surviving the latter.

Maciej Cegłowski # 19th March 2009, 4:11 pm

Obama ’08 for iPhone (via) Slick app, impressive for a three week turnaround. I’m guessing it uses the phone number area codes in your address book to arrange your friends by state for the “call your friends” feature, which is an ingeniously simple hack. # 2nd October 2008, 6:13 pm

Growing the ORG community. The Open Rights Group want a fiver a month from 750 new people to support their excellent work fighting for digital civil liberties in the UK political arena. Going by their past performance this is a very worthwhile investment. # 7th July 2008, 6:42 pm

A Look at the Presidential Candidates. The Big Picture (the Boston Globe’s fantastic photojournalism blog) presents a fascinating collection of historical photos of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain. # 4th July 2008, 9:09 pm

Google Reader ruins Christmas (via) New sharing feature automatically reveals shared items to Gmail contacts, causing political rows. # 25th December 2007, 2:59 pm

Death and Taxes (via) Beautiful massive zoomable/pannable infographic of the 2008 Federal Discretionary Budget. # 19th April 2007, 2:37 am

Discourse DB. A collaborative effort to collect the opinions of the world’s journalists and commentators about ongoing political events and issues, powered by Semantic MediaWiki so there’s metadata coming out of its ears. # 12th April 2007, 4:38 pm

’National interest’ halts arms corruption inquiry. “It has been necessary to balance the need to maintain the rule of law against the wider public interest.” # 15th December 2006, 2:09 pm