Interesting Math

Because I want to get working on anticorruption issues as soon as possible, I'm applying for the next cohort of MakerSquare, which starts on July 20th. I have to pass a technical interview (this July 8th) in order to be acepted, but if I am I have to pay up-front for the education (unlike other schools, which give you until the last day of the course to get the money together.)

So, obviously, it would be awesome if I could meet the goal: $17,000, in the next two weeks. ($16,920 for tuition, $80 for bus fare to downtown). I haven't really begun my social media push, because I didn't want to compete for attention with the work of the NHRebellion this July 4th, so it's possible that will work.

However, if we get close, I do have options available which will allow me to attend, and I'll keep the crowdfunding campaign open until the cohort concludes on October 20th.

The reason why I want to get started so quickly is because, quite frankly, the sooner I learn to code some realy cool apps, the sooner that information can be used to fight corruption.

For example, take phi.

From Wikipedia

That's phi, and it's written in code like this:

{% highlight javascript %} function phi(table) { return (table[3] * table[0] - table[2] * table[1]) / Math.sqrt((table[2] + table[3]) * (table[0] + table[1]) * (table[1] + table[3]) * (table[0] + table[2])); } {% endhighlight %}

Why is that important in fighting corruption?

Well, we've got all sorts of data from various transparency laws - projects like OpenSecrets, organizations like the Sunlight Foundation - they will tell you who gave what to whom and how much.

One of the arguments of Citizens United v. FEC's majority opinion is that money doesn't corrupt politics. With science, you could use phi to calculate the correlation between a group giving money to a candidate and that candidate's support of the law. It doesn't prove causation, naturally, but if you could demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that money influences politics - and show people exactly, and quantitatively how much it does - then you strengthen the argument for reform.

That's the kind of thing I'd like to work on. If I knew how - which is the whole point of me going to code camp.

In the meantime, there's something else you can do - if you have a website, you can embed my new widget. It looks like this:

You can get your own by embedding this code:

{% highlight html %}

{% endhighlight %}

Thank you once again for all your help!

-- Brian Boyko, a.k.a. "this guy."

P.S.: Feel free to send me any ideas you have for web application projects! I'll see what I can do to code them!

Brian Boyko

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Austin, Texas

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