Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

ABC News
SARS could be biological weapon: experts

Russian infectious disease experts say Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) may be a man-made biological weapon.
The virus, according to Academy of Medicine member Sergei Kolesnikov, is a cocktail of mumps and measles, whose mix could never appear in nature. "We can only get that in a laboratory," he told a conference in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, quoted by RIA Novosti news agency. It may have spread because of an "accidental leak" from a lab, he said.

Via Ben Hammersley

Reid and I were talking about humility and how most truly confident and capable people are usually pretty humble. We talked about how even a few self-defacing comments can go a long way and making you look pretty smart. So here's the paradox. When you know that I know this and I say something self-defacingself-effacing, it can look stupid if it is intentional and not sincerely. So how do you know when someone is sincerely humble, or just acting humble. Or does it even matter? I guess acting humble insincerely is still better than being arrogant and having to prove yourself at someone's expense. Being humble naturally is probably the coolest, but it isn't just a matter of trying. Kind of like trying REALLY hard to meditate doesn't help you meditate. ;-)

So, Friendster testimonials. Friendster is yet another site that is a networking site, which if it didn't ask you whether you had an open marriage when you signed up, wouldn't seem so much like a dating site. Anyway, Friendster has a feature which allows you to write testimonials about each other. I have received two. Frank and Liz wrote REALLY nice things about me. I assume they are sincere since they are sincere people. I am going to write something nice about them back since I like them both A LOT. But... what if someone writes something nice about me even though they don't really mean it. I will feel guilted into possibly writing something nice about them back. If I don't I look like a jerk. If I do, I could look like fake.

I think that as we design tools for social networking, some of these nuances are going to become important. Different circles have different cultures. Some people thrive on ego and put-downs. Some people thrive on humility. How does this affect the design of the tools...

Took Reid to go see Jay Dvivedi, the Chief Information Officer of Shinsei Bank yesterday. Reid is one of the coolest entrepreneurs that I know and as the former COO of Paypal, also one of the few people I know who gets off talking about payment systems with me. Jay is the smartest CIO I know and is ALWAY extremely inspiring when I see him. When I first met him he was talking about how he was going to revolutionize Shinsei Bank (the Long Term Credit Bank after it was acquired by Ripplewood.) Three years later, he has done everything he promised to do and has built maybe the most technically advanced bank in the world and the only major bank in Japan that is full IP and open systems. We got a tour of his the facility and it was amazing. EVERYTHING was IP: video, phones, everything. He uses public Internet to connect a worldwide network of vendors and nodes in a seamless network that TOTALLY works. Shinsei Bank is living proof of the end-to-end principle. He is now beginning to consult for other companies selling what he has developed at Shinsei Bank. Jay's boss, Mr. Yashiro who used to run Citibank in Japan where Jay used to work is also an amazing model CEO. During our sessions at the Association of Corporate Executives committee on IT Governance that I co-chair, I talked about Yashiro-san and Jay and their relationship quite a bit as a model. If only Japanese CEO's knew as much about the importance of IT as Yashiro-san and if only there were CIO's like Jay, we could be doing so much better in Japan. In addition to GDP, we would have profits. ;-) Three years ago, when Jun and I toured the banks and met the bank heads, Yashiro-san was the only person who bragged about home much money IT was saving him, instead of how much money he was spending on IT...
Adriaan just finished the new release of Kung-Log, the MT client for OS X. He's implemented the thumbnailing feature I asked for and it is now perfect. I can do ALL of my primary blogging from Kung-Log. One thing that is not documented but very useful is the proportionalization of the thumbnail. Enter either the width or the height and tab or click the other box to have it calculate the proportional size for the other field. It's talking the MetaWeblog API so it works for other CMS/blog systems as well, but well tuned for MT