Archive for the ‘Clips’ Category

Reviewing the PAC Name Generator Project

December 6th, 2010

My beloved Political Action Committee Name Generator project at work rounded out a successful weekend and became the most trafficked project Sunlight has ever had…so far. Here is a roundup of the media outlets that have covered it…so far:

The project also garnered some nice attention on social networks. Here are a few selections from Twitter:

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Sunlight Foundation’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Name Generator

December 2nd, 2010

Cross-posted from the Sunlight Foundation’s blog:

American Freedom. Patriots for Truth. Citizens for a Brighter Future. The Alliance for Children & Families. Champions of American Freedom. Common Sense in America.

These names are so agreeable, so reasonable, so inclusive, so damned American and yet their names reveal nothing about who funded these groups. It could be your coworkers, a couple billionaires, a band of small business owners, a gaggle of big corporations or maybe that nice fellow who says hello every morning. You just don’t know.

The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that led to the explosion of independent expenditures in the midterm elections also spurred a growing list of meaningless titles for organizations. Here at the Sunlight Foundation we will continue to advocate for strong disclosure laws, but we also thought we could have some fun with these vacuous names that simply serve as filing fodder. As we trolled through the spending records from the midterm elections we were shocked at how many people seem to $peak out in favor of common sense, families and the future! Political Action Committees often have bizarre names, but as more and more groups pop up to shield the identity of the donors, the names seem to get even more off topic.

We created this handy (and oh-so embeddable) widget that generates possible PACs and illuminates the absurdity of these inane hollow names. Results may vary:

The PAC Name Generator includes more than 28,000 possible fictional names and mixes in links to a hundred real PACs. Since the real ones are difficult to spot, we’ve linked more info on them from our Influence Explorer project and Follow the Unlimited Money site. Special doff to Jeremy Carbaugh from Labs for turning dreams into code. We would love to hear which results are your favorites and to embed this on your own site use the following code:

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Sunlight Foundation (and me!) on the PBS Newshour

March 30th, 2010

Ok ok, enough shameless self-promotion, here’s the full clip:

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Another Fun Day of Telecommuting

February 10th, 2010

Thanks to Aaron for thinking of me and connecting me with Stephanie Armour of the USA Today.  After a very friendly ten minute conversation, here’s the quote she selected for the article, published today:

The ability to work from anywhere also means snow days no longer offer a break from work. Many are like Nicko Margolies, a communications assistant at the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based non-profit.

With the federal government shut down, his office closed. Margolies worked at home.

“No snowstorm, no matter how big, will keep me from working. I lost heat, but I had my space heater and network access, so I kept on trucking. It’s actually a seamless transition from home to work,” he says. “The only difference is I’m in my pajamas.”

The full article is on USA TODAY. My quote was also picked up on Time Magazine’s ‘It’s Your Money’ blog and reposted on the Battle Creek Enquirer in Michigan. The image credits on this post go to NASA for this beautiful photograph taken by the Terra satellite (which I cropped).

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‘Best Camera’ iPhone App by Chase Jarvis

September 26th, 2009


Chase Jarvis, a world-renowned commercial photographer, recently launched an iPhone application, book and online photo community to convince everyone that the best camera is the one that’s with you and absolutely anyone can snap a remarkable image. The app is aptly named Best Camera [iTunes link] and allows users to apply a dozen filters to existing images or take new snapshots from within the application.


Beyond just another photo iPhone app, Best Camera connects to Facebook, Twitter, email and the community created alongside the app. The accompanying community allows users to vote and share on images, but also see the process each photographer used to arrive at the final image. At the heart of this playful mobile application is a photographic philosophy that anyone can capture stories and beauty if they just challenge themselves to visually fool around.


Best Camera isn’t filled with groundbreaking technology, but it pairs a series of tools that are the framework for a vibrant and visually stunning community of images. As for popularity, after 8 hours in the iTunes store the app is #4 in photo apps and #33 among all paid applications. The book on Amazon is currently a number one “Mover and Shaker” and features photographs taken around the world by Chase Jarvis using nothing more than his iPhone and some filters. Chase Jarvis discusses the app in this brief introductory video:

[Special thanks to Alex and Chase]

Originally written for and published at PSFK.

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Sunset for the Pint Glass

August 27th, 2009

pint-glassIf there is one place that doesn’t like meddling, it’s the local pub, and in Great Britain the growing number of glass related pub injuries has led the government to investigate changing the beloved pint glass into a controversial plastic pint.  According to recent statistics, over 5,000 pub-goers a year get glass related injuries from bar altercations, a figure that government officials believe can be lowered with a newly designed pint glass or simply changing the material.  Design Bridge, the firm working on a plastic alternative, must tread carefully over this touchy subject due to the sense of tradition that surrounds the classic pint glass.

The British Beer and Pub Association is in quite a tiff over the proposal and one member argues that the experience of a glass container is unparalleled because it “feels better, it has a nice weight and the drink coats the glass nicely.”  For others, it’s simply a question of safety.  The BBC reports on the touchy subject,

The Home Office Minister, Alan Campbell, said the redesign could make a significant difference to the number of revellers who are injured.  He said: “Innovative design has played an important role in driving down overall crime, including theft, fraud and burglary.  “This project will see those same skills applied to the dangerous and costly issue of alcohol-related crime and I am confident that it will lead to similar successes.”

BBC: “Pubs warn over plastic pints plan”

[via Core77]

Originally written for and published at PSFK.

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America’s Growing Moped Gangs

August 21st, 2009

moped-nickoWired’s Bryan Derballa recently published a photo essay on the growing moped communities around the country and their passionate fascination with the fuel-efficient, but ailing, and often discarded, motorized bikes. Derballa’s three week immersion into the moped culture involved a run-in with the police and a group ride through Times Square.

The vibrant moped community in Brooklyn is centered on a little shop called the Orphanage in Greenpoint. The group support the little collection of bikes rescued from obscurity and repairs them to sputtering, though working, order. The mopeds often top out at 30 miles per hour and the little two-stroke engines pollute more than their larger counterparts, but more and more people are falling in love with these forgotten machines. This subculture, like much of the so-called hipster culture, thrives on the use of outdated technology like typewriters or NES consoles, though the moped community boasts a strong online forum. Beyond the Orphan gang of Brooklyn, there are moped “gangs” in most major US cities, including the Creatures of the Loin in San Francisco, the Puddle Cutter of Portland and Hell Satans in Richmond.

Wired: “Rebels Without a Hog: Inside Brooklyn’s Moped Gang”
Photos: Bryan Derballa/

Originally written for and published at PSFK.

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