The IBM Research Lab has released its latest project: Many Bills, a web app that visualizes the content of bills put before Congress.
The later are probably best known for creating Many Eyes, another IBM Web app that provides a place to upload and share data, and then visualize it. Many Bills is a continuation of the grand ambition behind Many Eyes: To create data viz tools that play a vital role in the grand debates of our time.
You can call up any of the bills in the database and browse their content, bit by bit. Each provision has been automatically color coded by subject--so, for example, you'd be able to see any shady military allotments being sneaked into a bill on financial reform.
In fact, here's a good example of the ridiculous stuff that keeps Congress busy. For example, last year, there was one provision seeking to award a shiny gold medal for Tiger Woods for being an awesome golfer and an "breaking barriers with grace and dignity":
Glad that one didn't pass!
But on a more serious note, Many Bills could be a godsend in the future, for reporters and watchdogs hoping to keep Congress honest.