Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

A few quotes from the proMED-mail, which is a good list to follow for on-the-ground updates from the global medical community.
Date: 4 Apr 2003
From: ProMED-mail
Source: OIE press release
Atypical pneumonia: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

The causative agent has not yet been identified. It appears to be a Paramyxovirus, a Coronavirus, or a mixture. The World Health Organization (WHO) has hypothesised that the causative virus(es) may be of animal origin, from domestic or wild animals located in Guangdong Province (in South China).

This is why the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has contacted the Chinese Veterinary Authorities to obtain information on the animal health situation in China over the past 6 months and, in particular, in Guangdong Province.

Date: Fri 4 Apr 2003
From: Steve Berger

SARS - Deja vu ?

As SARS enters its fifth month, a number of questions remain unanswered. Why Asia? Why now? Why young adults? To these I would add a fourth question (Why the panic?) and an hypothesis.

Every 10 years or so, a pandemic spreads out from China and surrounding countries. The 'Asian flu' of 1957 claimed 98 000 lives worldwide, and the 'Hong Kong flu' of 1968 an additional 45 000 lives. Although the world community was rightly concerned, I do not recall a collapse of air travel, imposition of quarantine, or daily front-page headlines. To date, SARS has claimed 79 lives, and the etiological agent appears to be far less contagious than Influenza A virus.

joibeer.jpgYesterday, I officially weighed in at our gym with witnesses and I came in at 67.3kg with my clothes on. My target was 68.5kg so I cleared it comfortably. (Again, flashbacks from my wrestling days.) I had challenged myself to stop drinking alcohol completely until I reach the target weight. I was off of alcohol for exactly 2 weeks. It was a good experience. I lost a lot of weight, found out that I was an alcoholic (addicted to alcohol) and that alcohol was lowering my productivity and my general emotional quality. This was probably because I was drinking too much. I had a beer last night, which tasted REALLY good. I also had sake, a double Jack Daniel's on the rocks and another beer. Although this was not much considering my former average daily intake, I got a headache. Maybe my body is trying to tell me something...

I also called Yuichi, my Fat Club partner to tell him that I had won and that he is my new chauffeur. He promised to find a suitable outfit to wear during his day as my chauffeur. We also agreed to do another challenge, since he still wants some incentive to continue his program.

Anyway, it was a good test of my will and a lot of fun. It's probably not for everyone, but competing with someone and blogging about it was a good way to push myself to lose weight.

No taking over, peaceful co-existence, if stripped of all the Valley-drunk Buzzwords, Cultic Groupthink and wacky utopian half-baked utter-nonsense mushed-oatmeal theories like ‘Emergent Democracy’.

Thanks Yat!

I was invited to a breakfast with Keiko Higuchi by Merle Okawara. Ms. Higuchi is an outspoken anti-war feminist who was one of the first people to try to deal with the aging population issue in ernest. She is running for the office of the Governor of Tokyo as an independent against Shintaro Ishihara, the current Governor of Tokyo. She is characterized as a anti-war liberal and Ishihara is a well known nationalist.

Ishihara is an outspoken nationalist who rails against the United States and China and the central government. It is well known that he claims that “fifty years of subservience to the interest of the United States has deprived the Japanese of a national purpose and engendered a paralyzing identity crisis. And he reminds his countrymen that theirs is the only non-Caucasian society to have created a modern superpower.”
Ishihara is a well known writer who is able to capture the hearts of many Japanese with his catchy slogans and easy to understand policies that address many of the issues facing the average Japanese today.

Ms. Higuchi will have a tough fight being characterized as a soft philosophical peace-loving woman. Ishihara is talking about ramping up the police force to stomp out crime (especially those committed by foreign immigrants) and is supportive of increasing the military power of Japan. The war on Iraq will probably have a great deal of impact on this election.

Governor Domoto of Chiba also ran and didn't expect to win, but she did. Having assumed she was going to lose, she didn't promise many favors and thus she is relatively free and independent, having won. It would be great if Ms. Higuchi could win and displace Ishihara. She'll need some strong and smart advisors to help her execute, but having a woman Governor with a left-leaning disposition would probably be a good thing in light of the current atmosphere.

Ms. Higuchi outlined her philosophy this morning and I was happy to hear that she felt that democracy was broken and that the voice of the people as well as the ability for communities to organize and be heard in government was lacking and she intended to increase the diversity of opinions heard by lawmakers.

I talked about blogs and emergent democracy. (Of course)