Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

joihassy_thumb.jpg
Walking with my FE 60-120 zoom lens on my Hasselblad 205FCC fixed to my tripod.
Decided to take a stroll in the park with Mizuka instead of blogging a day. It was a beautiful day. I've uploaded some pictures I took with my Sony Cybershot DSC-P5. I wish I had a better photo album online. Does anyone know of a good photo album server I can run on a Apple XServe?

komazawapark_thumb.jpg
The entrance to Komazawa Park is one of the nicest views in the park. The leaves are just starting to turn yellow.

yakiimo_thumb.jpg
Yakiimo is the great portable food of the fall/winter in Japan. These little trucks roast the sweet potatoes in ovens billowing smoke with this great tape recorded message going on and on about how nice, sweet and hot the potatoes are.

corn_thumb.jpg
Another great outdoor food is grilled corn. The corn has soy sauce on it that burns and smells like... burnt soy sauce. All Japanese are conditioned to salivate when they smell burnt soy sauce.

fleamarket_thumb.jpg
The Japanese made a mistake and Japlish took over on this one. "free market" and "flea market" are generally used interchangeably. Some web sites talk about "free markets" being more "open" "flea markets"... So here is a "free market"...

flearight_thumb.jpg
The local right wing truck showed up to join the festivities with speakers blaring on about the Japan flea market economy...

komabike_thumb.jpg
Komazawa Park has these great bikes for 2 people that you can cruise around in. Mizuka wanted to ride one, but we got turned down and told that they were for kids.

hassyh1.jpgI just LOVE Hasselblad Cameras. I have two of them, a 503CW and a 205FCC. The 503 was my first Hasselblad and I used it for several years before I bought the 205FCC. (I read an article on photo.net that said that the 205FCC was great, but that it was a waste for newbies. ;-) )Hasselblad is really the ultimate medium format camera with such a great design that they haven't changed much in over 50 years. The 503CW is requires no electricity. The 205FCC has an amazingly accurate internal spot meter that allows me to do fancy stuff like measure the contrast of the image and adjust the push processing on my B&W to compensate for it. An amazing feature, I rarely use. ;-) Anyway, this new H1 that Hasselblad designed with Fuji Film is fully automatic with everything integrated. Even auto-focus! Is this a blasphemy or a breakthrough? It feels like when Leica came up with their first auto-focus minilux series. If I hadn't just bought my 205FCC I would take a serious look at the H1, but... I've bought too many cameras this year to afford another one.

dogsanddemons.jpg
Dogs and Demons by Alex Kerr. Click on image to go to the Amazon.com entry.
enigmaofjp.jpg
The Enigma of Japanese Power by Karel Van Wolferen is also still very relevant. It is about the power structure behind Japan.
I was already feeling pretty bad about Japan and the job ahead of us, but after Dogs and Demonsby Alex Kerr, I feel worse. I feel like moving to an island somewhere or killing myself. The most difficult thing about the book is that it's probably all true. Alex Kerr is a Japanologist who talks you through the problems with modern Japan from the viewpoint of how Japan has managed destroy it's environment and the economy at the same time. He details how the construction industry has taken over Japan physically and economically. It is a MUST READ for anyone interested in Japan today.

He also makes a point that although Japanese are considered to be nature lovers, much of it manifests as control over nature.

Dogs and Demons
People who admire the Japanese traditional arts make much of the "love of nature" that inspired sand gardens, bonsai, ikebana flower arranging, and so forth, but they often fail to realize that the traditional Japanese approach is the opposite of a laissez-faire attitude towards nature. These arts were strongly influenced by the military caste that ruled Japan for many centuries, and they demand total control over every branch and twig.

Here are some quotes:

Dogs and Demons
In the early 1990s, construction investment overall in Japan consumed 18.2 percent of the gross national product, versus 12.4 percent in the United Kingdom and only 8.5 percent in the United States. Japan spent about 8 percent of its GDP on public works (veersus 2 percent in the United States -- proportionally four times more). By 2000 it was estimated that Japan was spending about 9 percent of its GDP on public works (versus only 1 percent in the United States): in a decade, the share of GDP devoted to public works has risen to nearly ten times that of the United States. -- The colossal subsidies flowing to construction mean that the combined national budget devotes an astounding 40 percent of expenditures to public works (versus 8 to 10 percent in the United States and 4 to 6 percent in Britain and France). -- by 1998 it (the construction industry) employed 6.9 million people, more than 10 percent of Japan's workforce--more than double the relative numbers in the United States and Europe. Experts estimate that as many as one in five jobs in Japan depends on construction, if one includes work that derives indirectly from public-works contracts. -- In 1994, concrete production in Japan totaled 91.6 million tons, compared with 77.9 millions tons in the United States. This means that Japan lays about thirty times as much per square foot as the United States. -- By the end of the century...shoreline that had been encased in concrete has risen to 60 percent or more. -- There are more than a thousand controlled hazardous substances in the United States,...In Japan, as of 1994 only a few dozen substances were subject to government controls...
FT.com
FDA request slows launch of cheap Prilosec By Christopher Bowe in New York Published: October 29 2002 21:38 A potential cheap version of Prilosec, the blockbuster heartburn medicine, is to be delayed after Procter & Gamble said it did not expect US regulatory approval of its over-the-counter product until late next year.

Postponement of the final approval stems from the US Food and Drug Administration's request for a study to make sure consumers understood that the treatment was long-acting and once-per-day. That study will take eight more weeks and six months for regulatory review. The FDA has otherwise tentatively approved P&G's retail version.

This is bad news, good news and bad news for me. For someone who takes Prilosec every day, it's bad news that an over-the-counter version is delayed. It's good news because I didn't know an over-the-counter version was even on its way. It's bad news because I live in Japan and it will probably take another Admiral Perry to get it approved in Japan.

For those of you who don't know what Prilosec is... It is the best medicine for chronic heartburn that I know of. I used to have heartburn every day and ulcers. I took all kinds of anti-acid medication and it never worked. After I started taking Prilosec I'm completely fine. I spent SOO much of my high school and college years fighting with my aching stomach that discovering Prilosec was really a key moment in my life. A US doctor recommended it and I had my doctor in Japan search down an equivalent and prescribe it to me.

Wired News

Kristen Philipkoski
02:00 AM Nov. 01, 2002 PST

The journal Science retracted eight of Hendrik Schon's discredited research papers on Thursday, but the information still lurks on the Internet.

In September, an investigative committee found that 17 papers authored by Schon, considered to be major breakthroughs in physics, were mostly fabrications.

But a Web search on Schon's name turns up more pages touting those "accomplishments" than his firing in September by Bell Labs, the result of his fabricating that data.

So this is an important issue, but not an impossible one. It relates to the story about "The Google Gods"
CNET News.com
Does search engine's power threaten Web's independence?
By Stefanie Olsen
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
October 31, 2002, 4:00 a.m. PT

Patrick Ahern has witnessed the power of Google--and the difficulties of trying to do business without it.

Data Recovery Group, where he is president, would typically come up around the fourth listing on Google's popular search engine last year. Then in January, when Google removed the company from its listings without explanation, Data Recovery saw a 30 percent drop in business.

I have also suffered as I wait for Google to update it's database. It just today finally dumped my old URL's and rolled over to my new ones making my site google searchable again. It took months for Google to index me properly when I first got started. It was very frustrating. Having said that, I've run a search engine and I know how difficult it is to keep everyone happy.

blog theme song on... So maybe blogs, meta-indexes and things like weblogs.com to keep track of updates... basically the whole xml thing will help solve the issue of keep track of "the living web"...