Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

So I'm starting to understand a bit about "blog rolling". I first saw the term in the sidebar of Dan Gillmor's blog. It's the list of blogs that you read often and link to from your page. I found a cool tool called Blogrolling. It does various things all at once. You can create a sidebar in IE (Mac and PC) that lists the blogs in your blog roll. You can create php, javascript or rss code in your web page so that your blog roll shows up on your web page. Because it uses style sheets, it integrates seamlessly into the page. (See the blog roll on this page. It is created dynamically from Links that say "fresh" before them have been update in the last 24hrs.) Pretty cool idea. I've also been experimenting with several RSS readers, but haven't found one that I like. I think this idea of having a list of news feeds/blogs that you can read seamlessly and then being able to share these links is obviously the right idea. I guess the question is, is it easier to do it in the browser, in an opencola sort of p2p environment or in some dedicated RSS reader... I like this blog rolling idea because it shares your blog roll to people outside of your "network", people who don't have special software (like opencola) and to people who haven't been "turned on" to RSS and blogging yet...

Sighted on WERBLOG

BlogStreet is a database of blogs that lets you enter the URL for a blog and it finds other blogs in your "neighborhood". Cool idea, but not completely sure how useful it is. Or maybe it's just useful if your blog is famous and highly linked to and maybe I just don't understand the algorithm. When I entered my blog, mostly I just got a list of blogs that I link to on my top page. It ranked my blog 6479 out of 10259 blogs, which is probably not bad for a 2 month old blog, but not really stellar. More than half the blogs around are more famous than mine. ;-p Interestingly, it ranked the web archives of David Farber's list also as 6479. How can we both be 6479? Since I just started blogging and David Farber's list is much more interesting, linked and older, it would seem strange that we are ranked the same. Justin was ranked 828, which seems pretty good. Anyway, worth a look.

From BlogStreet web page
What is Blog Neighbourhood Analysis?
Given a blog URL, the neighbourhood analyser gives the related blogs based on its blogroll, using what we have called the Commoner method: take the most common blogs from all the friends blogrolls and give out a most common list of blogs, in addition to myblog friends, as related. That is if a blog appears among the highest number of times in all friendblog's blogrolls then it is treated as related.

I still don't understand what Blog Neighbourhood Analysis is... Do you? I THINK I just figured it out...

Finally finished reading this book. Mimi recommended it to me when I was trying to write my paper for Ars Electronica. Now I can't remember the context of her recommendation. Anyway...

A dense book, but a great book.

It approaches the process of the progress of science and the development of "facts" from the human and social perspective. Latour starts out the book by chronicling the discovery of DNA and the development of the Eclipse MV/8000 computer. He shows how "facts" are black boxes that become fact through a process of competition that involves building networks of references until people start to refer to your theory as a fact and use it to build their facts. In fact, black boxes can be re-opened, but it becomes increasing difficult and costly to do this. I felt this very much when working at ECD. We worked in the area of disordered materials. Most devices are/were made of solid state crystalline materials. It is very difficult to get people think about devices in other ways. In this way, ECD discovered huge bodies of amazing materials with amazing properties, but convincing the world of the reality of this alternative universe took decades and the resistance was phenomenal. (It took Stan Ovshinsky, an amazing leader with the combination of a scientific mind and the will of a political activist to convince the world.)

Latour writes about how many scientists believe that "Nature" can tell us if the facts are true. He explores laboratories and their methods and shows us that "Nature" doesn't really "tell us" anything. Nature proves something only after something becomes a fact. Laboratories are design to prove or support facts and the design of the experiment and the interpretation of the data are ambiguous and always disputable. It costs a great deal of money to open a "black box" and to create a laboratory to create or debunk scientific facts. The more "scientific" one gets, the more ambiguous the facts become and the higher the costs become. Because of the time and the costs involved, this questioning of fact and creation of fact becomes an enterprise that require a great deal of funding and thus a great deal of political and non-scientific activity.

He makes an interesting point about scientific papers which I will quote :

There is something still worse, however, than being either criticized or dismantled by careless readers: it is being ignored. Since the status of a claim depends on later users' insertions, what if there are no later users whatsoever? This is the point that people who never come close to the fabrication of science have the greatest difficulty in grasping. They imagine that all scientific articles are equal and arrayed in lines like soldiers, to be carefully inspected one by one. However, most papers are never read at all. No matter what a paper did to the former literature, if no one else does anything with it, then it is as if it never existed at all. You may have written a paper that settles a fierce controversy once and for all, but if readers ignore it, it cannot be turned into a fact; it simply cannot.

You may protest against this injustice; you may treasure the certitude of being right in your inner heart; but it will never go further than your inner heart; you will never go further in certitude without the help of others. Fact construction is so much a collective process that an isolated person builds only dreams, claims and feelings, not facts. As we will see later in Chapter 3, one of the main problems to solve is to interest someone enough to read at all; compared to this problem, that of being believed is, so to speak, a minor task.

So! This ties into our discussion of blogs. (I get to talk about blogs again.) Remember that article by the Brazilian who was abused by INS in LAX? It was posted/blogged on the Net and David Farber wrote about it on his mailing list. Someone wrote that they had a brother that was in the same Rotary Club as the victim. Then, Brock Meeks called INS and confirmed the incident. This "theory" quickly became fact or very close to fact. People prodded and probed many of the weaknesses in the original article and conducted experiments. But... I think one of the most important things was that the current global political climate made the original claim very relevant. People read it and blogged it. Now we know for a "fact" that INS has cells in LAX that they throw people into for not having the right "papers."

Omi-san, a friend who left NTT recently is working on a database for academic papers. I am going to see her again soon to show her blogs and how blogs can create automatic links such as the trackback feature that Movable Type has. I think that blogs will have a huge impact on journalism and news, but after reading Science in Action, I realize that blogs or something similar to blogs could have a HUGE impact on Science. Science is obviously more rigid and structured, but the ability to link quickly and amass support for your claim or idea should be great. The blog architecture is probably much more suitable for many types of exchange than the current model of professional journals.


Yet another breakfast about how to save Japan... This one is co-sponsored by The National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) and the Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai). The title of this project is called "The Action Plan for Reviving the Japanese Economy." The chair is Kanemaru-san, the CEO of Future System Consulting.

This is the second breakfast. I presented my standard presentation at the last breakfast talking about the lack of a functioning market/risk-return model.

Oe-san of Plantec is presenting today. He is talking about liquid space and communities. He is also talking about how speed is power... I wonder where he is going with this...

Now he's talking about music and raves in Israel...

This final point is to shift the "solid Japan" to a "liquid Japan"...

I just pointed out the risk of fluctuation amplification that comes risk speed and the necessity of diversity to dampen this and the fact that at some point speed is out of control and does not lead to straight forward "power" for the state.

Oe-san is talking about bottom up control rather than top-down control...

Jinno-sensei, Professor of Economics from Tokyo University agrees with me I think and is talking about getting "sea sick" from the speed and "slow down and calm down" for the economy...

Now we're talking about information and journalism and I got a chance to talk about blogs... I told everyone I was blogging them right now. ;-) (shocked faces)

We are now all agreeing that we have to destroy/purge a lot of the older structures, but now Inukai-san is asking, HOW do we destroy old structures...

SatireWire has closed down! Oh no! It was one of my favorite sites.

In memory of SatireWire, which will stay online as an archive, here are a few of my favorites:

In Grand Scheme of Things, Your Hard Work, Diligence, Found to Mean Squat

London, England ( - In an unprecedented study, British and American researchers have concluded that despite what you've been told at work, you really don't make a difference, and are not remotely integral to your company's success.

"In our research, we found that you've been encouraged to believe that your hard work and contributions are substantial, and that you are a significant member of the team. But what we discovered is that in your particular case, there's no way," said Neil Romsby of the London School of Economics.

Major Corporations Turning into 'Swat Shops'

NEW YORK, N.Y. ( - Frustrated by a tight labor market that has forced them to make unprecedented concessions to employees, several dozen American companies have instituted "employee-slapping" policies, allowing managers to slap workers pretty much whenever they damn well please.

Widely hailed by supervisors as a great equalizer, the random slapping of employees has, not surprisingly, come under fire from many lower-level workers. But even some senior-level managers have voiced complaints.

"I, for one, don't like it a bit," said Marcia Pepperstein, vice president of sales at Motorola. "I'm a vice president, and I get slapped. I think there should be a ceiling somewhere, just below me, so that I don't get slapped, but I still get to slap. That, to me, would be an acceptable system."