Now, This Is How a Checking Account Should Look

In the right-hand column, how the balance sheet of Carl Malamud's Public Resource organization looked yesterday.

One column over to the left, how it looked today:


Malamud1.png

The two-million-dollar difference, as Malamud explains today on his site, is a grant that Public Resource has won as part of Google's Project 10^100, as explained on Google's site today.* Here is Google's explanation of why Malamud and the movement he represents deserve support:

Idea: Make government more transparent
Project funded: Public.Resource.Org is a non-profit organization focused on enabling online access to public government documents in the United States. We are providing $2 million to Public.Resource.Org to support the Law.Gov initiative, which aims to make all primary legal materials in the United States available to all.

I've known Malamud (slightly) for years, and I'm very happy for him. But anyone who cares about applying the tools of the internet to making public information more broadly available should cheer him -- and the award selectors -- on this news too. I've mentioned some of his projects and crusades previously in this space, for instance here, here, here, here, and here. Well done all around. And -- yes, I know it's irrational -- the next time I look at my checking account on line, I'll try to imagine how it would feel to see it go overnight from $1900.40 to $1,001,900.40.
___
* Test your math savvy. You should know without thinking about it why Google calls this "Project 10^100." I have faith that the Atlantic's audience does.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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