Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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Mainichi Interactive
TEPCO lied over cracks at nuke plants Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) repeatedly lied when the government questioned the firm about cracks at its nuclear power plants, sources said Tuesday.
Mainichi Interactive
Heads to roll over reactor cracks Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) president and chairman are set to resign over the covered up of cracks at three nuclear power plants, sources said Saturday.
I heard a rumor which I will investigate that 10100 people knew and covered it up. The person who blew the whistle was an American. There was a new law in place that was create to encourage whistle blowing in the nuclear industry by protecting whistle blowers from being fired or treated unfairly. Even so, the Japanese didn't talk.

I argue often that with the National ID and even more profiling, whistle blowing will become even more risky for the individual and will probably have such a strong chilling effect that it won't be an effective method. I think we should include a provision to allow pseudonymous or anonymous whistle blowing. Also, the information about whistle blowers should be more explicitly protected. Japanese are ALWAYS leaking this kind of information to the press and industry from the government...

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This is the first meeting of the overview committee of the National ID system. The press were ALL here and I got a lot of TV cameras in my face. I guess I'm going to end up on the evening news. I wonder what the comments will be.

Ishii Takemocho-sensei, a good friend and an very honest person was chosen as the chair. I'm going to go and see him soon. Kazuhisa Ogawa, the military analyst who I also respect highly for his outspoken and thoughtful style is also on the committee.

I pushed very hard to have this committee as open as possible and they agreed and announced that all of the minutes and the agendas will be posted on the web page and that they will have a press briefing after every meeting. I guess this is OK. Having the press actually in the meetings would be difficult to manage. Also, I got approval to blog freely. ;-) So here I am...

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Mainichi Interactive
Tanaka reelected Nagano gov.

NAGANO -- Former Nagano Gov. Yasuo Tanaka, who lost his position in July after the prefectural assembly adopted a no-confidence motion against him, was reelected in Sunday's gubernatorial race, according to early vote counting.

Today I sent Tanaka-san a Doraemon Telegram congratulating him on winning the election. The telegram comes stuck in the head of a stuffed Doraemon doll under the whirly thing on his head.
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Anyway, after writing the rather pitiful introverted item about conspiracies, I realized that I was a wimp. Tanaka-san became governor, fought against the whole prefectural assembly about stopping wasteful public works funding of dams. He ran for governor again after the no-confidence vote and got reelected again to continue to fight. It was the first time in the history of Japan, I heard, that a no-confidence vote occurred for policy reasons and not a scandal. I wonder what the prefectural assembly is going to do now that it is so obvious the people are against them and their pork barrel politics ways. So, I should remember Mahatma Gandhi and remember that determination and stubbornness go a long way. Although Tanaka-san is not a Gandhi, he is one of the most stubborn people I know and completely impossible to co-opt. I don't think ANYONE questions that point, although people question other things about him. I should probably stop worrying about what people think and worry about sticking to my principles and being a little more stubborn.

Tanaka-san and I were plotting some great stuff to do with IT policy in Nagano so hopefully this stuff with the dams will settle down and we can get to work turning Nagano into IT-stupidity-free prefecture. It will be a pleasure working with someone with the balls to force change.

As a child, I really liked stories. I read all of Robert Anton Wilson's books and HOPED that the stories were true. Stories like the fact that the number 23 was magic and that Timothy Leary had been contacted by aliens -- The Starseed Transmissions. When I met Timothy Leary on my 24th birthday, he told me that the stuff about the number 23 along with the story about the aliens was not true. It was a joke. The more I talked to him, the more I realized that most of the stuff that Robert Anton Wilson had written was a joke with a sprinkle of reality to make it interesting.

For awhile, I still believed that sneaky powerful people must control this world. I tried to meet many of them to find out if they did. I found out that the chairman of NHK (Japan's public broadcasting network) had a lot of power over politicians, but that they had enough power over him to oust him when they decided they didn't like him. I met people who didn't seem powerful who were and people who were supposed to be powerful who weren't. So, although I discovered a web of power brokers and power that flowed between them, I still haven't found anything really "sneaky" or mysterious. The more I meet people and slowly become part of my own little network of power, I realize that power and money follow fundamentally simple rules. One of my good friends and my roommate in college, Peter Chiang told me a saying that his father told him. "Money is lonely. It likes to go where other money is."

So although life and the distribution of power and wealth are not "fair," I think that most conspiracy theories are rather interesting, but wrong. The members of the Trilateral Commission do wield a lot of power, but they are not consciously "conspiring" in a "sneaky" way. Most of them are fairly good people trying to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility which ends up causing harm to other people in some cases. Having said that, there are MANY networks of power that are not obvious and insiders do have an unfair advantage. Once you are aware of these networks though, they are rather logical and predictable to a certain extent. So as I slowly cross the line from radical outsider to a virus fighting an immune response within, I find myself becoming somewhat self-conscious of inevitably being labeled an "insider" or becoming the target of a conspiracy theory and losing what little public support I have.

I guess blogging and disclosure will help. I will also have to learn how to ignore some hatred from people I don't know. I already seem to have people who hate me, even though I have tried not to do things where I piss people off unnecessarily. The worst is being hated by people you don't know. One fellow who we were trying to work with said he didn't like me and couldn't work with me. When our guys asked him to meet me before making up his mind, he said he didn't want to meet me... I was rather hurt for a moment, but then I decided, "his loss." ;-) Anyway, I should probably stop thinking about what people are thinking of me.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the conspiracy theorists meet their targets in the network of blogs. I think blogs humanizes the people blogging. It also exposes interesting networks of relationships that can help create credibility. Obviously, if the target of your conspiracy theory turns out to be a respected friend of someone you respect, your thoughts may be swayed. I am also interested in whether this growing web of trust can create some sort of alternative back channel network to alleviate some of the hatred and conflict in the world... or whether blogs will fuel more noise. It really helps leverage the "strength of weak ties" if used properly though...

So although life and the distribution of power and wealth are not "fair," I think that most conspiracy theories are rather interesting, but wrong. The members of the Trilateral Commission do wield a lot of power, but they are not consciously "conspiring" in a "sneaky" way. Most of them are fairly good people trying to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility which ends up causing harm to other people in some cases. Having said that, there are MANY networks of power that are not obvious and insiders do have an unfair advantage. Once you are aware of these networks though, they are rather logical and predictable to a certain extent. So as I slowly cross the line from radical outsider to a virus fighting an immune response within, I find myself becoming somewhat self-conscious of inevitably being labeled an "insider" or becoming the target of a conspiracy theory and losing what little public support I have.

I guess blogging and disclosure will help. I will also have to learn how to ignore some hatred from people I don't know. I already seem to have people who hate me, even though I have tried not to do things where I piss people off unnecessarily. The worst is being hated by people you don't know. One fellow who we were trying to work with said he didn't like me and couldn't work with me. When our guys asked him to meet me before making up his mind, he said he didn't want to meet me... I was rather hurt for a moment, but then I decided, "his loss." ;-) Anyway, I should probably stop thinking about what people are thinking of me.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the conspiracy theorists meet their targets in the network of blogs. I think blogs humanizes the people blogging. It also exposes interesting networks of relationships that can help create credibility. Obviously, if the target of your conspiracy theory turns out to be a respected friend of someone you respect, your thoughts may be swayed. I am also interested in whether this growing web of trust can create some sort of alternative back channel network to alleviate some of the hatred and conflict in the world... or whether blogs will fuel more noise. It really helps leverage the "strength of weak ties" if used properly though...

I first saw this on Marc Canter's page, but he got it from Doc Searls Weblog who got it from Wesley Felter on Hack the Planet 2.0 who saw it on cnet.

Doc Searls

Jabber hits critical PR mass, interop finally hits IM
News.com: Out with AOL, in with Jabber. It had to happen eventually. Now it has. The non-interoperative closed doors on IM systems from AOL, MSN and Yahoo are now fated to open. The sooner those companies realize this is a Good Thing that their customers have always wanted, they better off they'll be. Apple shoud take the lead in opening up IM, as it has with so many other standards (USB, SCSI, FireWire, wi-fi and now Rendezvous).
The company's new iChat already makes some use of the Jabber IM protocol. I suspect the only reason iChat is closed (except to AIM) is due to some contractual agreement with AOL. But that also puts Apple in a unique position to tell AOL the gig is up.

Marc Canter
DUUUUUUUUDE! Apple's new iChat IS AIM. It's licensed technology. That's the only way Apple can link into the AIM universe. That's what AOL announced is their inter-op strategy -let others license THEIR engine. So - no - I don't think you'll see little Stevie taking any leadership steps here.........

And BTW - it should be noted that the ONLY way to get Renezvous to work is to open it up. It wouldn't do much - if all it did was configure Apple products - right? Apple is using Open Source as a puppet to achieve their own ends. Whenever Apple does something good is more by strategical manipulation that anything else.

So I heard from a VERY reliable source that ICQ does not really mind people plugging into their network. For instance there is a client called trilian that lets you: "Communicate with Flexibility and Style. Trillian is everything you need for instant messaging. Connect to ICQ®, AOL Instant Messenger(SM), MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and IRC in a single, sleek and slim interface."

So I agree that Jabber seems cool and maybe the next big thing, but what do I do with all of my old buddy lists? Also, if you're going to make me switch again, I'd like IP telephony seamlessly built into IM so that I don't have to have a phone number any more. It's stupid that the government in Japan allocates phone number when all you really need is a buddy list and an IM account.

I have to figure out a cooler way of formating quotes from various people... How's this?