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16-year-old Builds App to Expose Funding in Congress
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16-year-old Builds App to Expose Funding in Congress

Nick Rubin is 16. Nick has an interest in politics. Nick learned code so he could make Greenhouse, a browser plugin...

16-year-old Builds App to Expose Funding in Congress

Nick Rubin is 16. Nick has an interest in politics. Nick learned code so he could make Greenhouse, a browser plugin that gives you a breakdown of the lobby groups behind a certain politician or Congressman.


Nick taught himself to code in his spare time. After school and on weekends, he would work on Greenhouse, which he says is named after the houses of Congress, but also because greenhouses are by nature transparent.


The plugin is actually very simple. Once you install it, it’ll highlight names of all U.S. Senators and Representatives in any text or article you read. A mouseover pops up a short ID card of the politician in question, complete with the top lobby groups and the amount of money they’ve put behind that person.

 

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“I created Greenhouse to shine light on a social and industrial disease of today: the undue influence of money in our Congress. This influence is everywhere, even if it is hidden. I aim to expose and publicize that disease through technology that puts important data where it is most useful, on websites where people read about the actions, or inaction, of members of Congress every day,” Nick says on his website.

 

The app uses data from the 2012 election cycle, although there’s an OpenSecrets.org link on every politician’s card that gives you the latest info from 2014.

 

Despite the fact that Nick is below the voting age, it seems he’s old enough to know what matters.

 

“Even though I am only 16 years old, not quite old enough to vote, I am old enough to know  that our political system desperately needs fixing. I hope that this tool is one step in that direction.”

 

We’re right behind you, kid.

 

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