Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

The folks at Ars Electronica have translated a shortened version of Jon Lebkowsky's edited version of my Emergent Democracy paper into German. It will appear in this year's book for Ars Electronica. Thanks for coordinating this Ingrid and thanks for the translation Susanne!

Yesterday, Mutsumi in our office told me half a dozen times that I looked "bigger". I'd been thinking about how to lose some weight and I remembered Fat Club because Jane linked to a Fat Club entry on her blog. For some reason, I seem to be able to motivate myself to lose weight when I'm competing. I asked everyone in our office if they wanted to join Fat Club 2004. Kuri, Jim and Nob agreed to participate. The race is to see who can lose 10% of their body weight first and sustain it for one week. The last one in has to be a slave to the winner for a day. Slave rights can be sold or rented. We decided to set up a private wiki to organize this event.

Mizuka bought a fancy scale awhile ago hinting that I should probably lose some weight. I jumped on it this morning and it told me that I had the body of a 49 year old. (I'm 38.) The fancy scale uses Bioelectric Impedance to measure your body fat and calculates basal metabolism, body fat percentage, muscle percentage, internal body fat level, your body mass index and your body age equivalent. Let me just say it was very motivating. This new scale has 6 contacts, two for your hands and 4 for your feet and seems more accurate than some of the older models.

UPI via The Washington Times reports that the Weather Underground are planning some action during the RNC. UPI says:

United Press International
"These people are trained in kidnapping techniques, bombmaking and building improvised munitions," the source said. "They're very bad people..."
Someone who asked not to be named emailed me and says that they heard that, "it's planned on being a nonviolent action. Something about leaflets and random covert protesters." If this is indeed the case, there is a pretty high likelihood of some really wound up police running into some pretty innocent people. If you are at risk of looking like a risk to the police, make sure you read about your rights. (344k ZIPped PDF on via Boing Boing
UPDATE: An anonymous tipster sez "this pamphlet was done by the wonderful Katya Komisaruk over at the Just Cause Law Collective. At her site,, there's the pamphlet and tons of other info about how to not lose your rights when dealing with the po. (Including Komsiaruk's book, set up much like the pamphlet, 'Beat the Heat.' Komisaruk applied and was accepted to Harvard Law School while in federal prison for anti-nuke demonstrations. She went to HLS while on parole and graduated with honors. Now she's one of the most active anarchist lawyers in the U.S."

UPDATE: Anonymous old media journalist who thinks the UPI story is bunk: "my theory is that the republicans are going to have their own anarchists there a la the reichstag fire...."

Pierre Omidyar the founder of eBay has a new project called the Omidyar Network. They just invested in SocialText, a wiki company that I've invested in and am on the board of. Pierre blogs about the Omidyar network and the investment in Socialtext. If you have heard of the Omidyar Network:

We believe every individual
has the power to make a difference.

We exist for one single purpose:
So that more and more people discover their own
power to make good things happen.

We are actively building a network of participants
because we know we can't do this alone.

Other investors in this Series A funding include Reid Hoffman, Mark Pincus and Jun Makihara. Full story on Socialtext page. Congrats and thanks to all involved.

Mizuka just asked me if I had heard about some guy who was busted for making tons of money trading stocks who claims to be a time-traveler. The story was that he would show them the time-machine if they let him go. She said her Japanese friends were talking about it. I laughed and checked Google News with an assortment of keywords with no results. I wandered over to #joiito. Soon enough nichlas came up with a link to a WWN article from March, 2003 about the story. Just as I was wondering if this was something to blog about, KevinMarks page-slapped us with the entry from April 2003 debunking the story.

I would really love to see the path that this silly story took over the last 1 1/2 years to get from WWN to me via the Japanese girls gossip network.