Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

February 2007 Archives

I'll blog more of the upcoming events that I'll be attending at SXSW, but here's an important one.

We challenge you, our community, to raise $6000 for Creative Commons by subscribing to GOOD Magazine and having a drink with us at the famed South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, TX. All it takes is for 200 people over the next 2 weeks to subscribe to GOOD. No, my math skills are not wrong. If you subscribe in the next 2 weeks your $20 bucks will be generously matched by Six Apart for up to $2000. So you won't just raise $4000 for CC but $6000.

Since July 2006, Creative Commons has been one of the 12 non-profits benefitting from the Choose GOOD campaign. GOOD magazine was started by some innovative people who have taken a non-traditional approach to promoting their magazine - and have experienced unbelievable success. The folks at GOOD have been traveling around the nation hosting parties and more importantly raising money and awareness for the non-profits that they support.

Over the past 7 months they have sold 11,899 subscriptions generating over $200,000 which in turn is gifted to 12 non-profits that are doing new, innovative, and great things. CC is one of them and since July GOOD has raised over $11,000 for us!

We need your help to make GOOD Magazine's SXSW party honoring Creative Commons the most successful party they've hosted to date. Cover charge is the $20 subscription fee and we strongly suggest emailing your rsvp to

If you want to help support CC and attend one of GOOD's infamous parties but do not reside in the Austin, TX area don't worry - your subscription fee gets you into any of the upcoming GOOD parties. And yes all parties are open bar.

By subscribing to this awesome new magazine you gain entrance to the biggest GOOD/SXSW party to date and you're helping us raise $6000 for CC. That money will support what we continue to do best - enable a participatory culture.

SXSW GOOD Party details:
with Special Guest Joi Ito, CC Chairman
VJ Phi Phenomenon
DJ Filip Turbotito
Ima Robot
ex Junio Senior

Monday March 12th
Uncle Flirty's
325 E. Sixth St. (on corner of Trinity and Sixth)
Austin, TX

This Event is for GOOD subscribers only

From Lessig's Blog.



Two friends of CC — updated

Two friends of Creative Commons have been nominated for won an Oscar: Board member Davis Guggenheim’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (husband of Christiane Henckel von Donnersmarck, original director of Creative Commons International)’s film, The Lives of Others.

CrooksAndLiars has a clip with Davis’ acceptance speech.

YouTube has Florian’s acceptance speech.

Friends are to inspire. And so they have.


I flew from Tokyo to San Francisco yesterday. I did a lot of work on the plane, started reading The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan that Howard recommended and arrived in San Francisco around 9AM. I checked in, took a shower and headed off for meetings. I had 7 1/2 meeting or so in Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto and San Francisco. Then I went to the CC Salon, met all of the wonderful people, listened to Jim, John and Heather make their presentations and did a short blurb myself. When I got back to the hotel, I did some more work, played some Warcraft and then went to the pool at midnight and swam. I got up at 6AM, stretched and meditated. Then, feeling like a TV shopping commercial, I worked out with my Portal Gym for 30 minutes. I ordered a salad and a blueberry, soy milk and banana smoothie from room service, packed and headed to the airport.

Now I'm sitting in the airport lounge feeling more energetic than I can remember ever feeling. I'm also euphoric and happy.

I'm not posting this to boast... although I guess it is a bit boastful. I'm posting this in response to people who have been telling me that I won't have enough energy on a Vegan, no-oil diet. I'm also posting this in response to people warning me that I'm losing weight too fast. Bullocks. I admit that there is some possibility that there is something unhealthy that is going on in my body that I can't sense, but overall, I have become more sensitive about what my body wants than I've ever been in my life.

I'm not trying to convince everyone to do this lifestyle change that I am experimenting with. However, I do urge people not to try to talk people out of it. Words of discouragement can weigh heavy on the initial motivation required to get going, and at least for me, this is the best decision I've made in a long long time.

I'll be in SF tomorrow and will at the CC Salon. Come by if you have time. Here's the Eventful listing. Here's the info from the CC Weblog:

Creative Commons Salon SF Next Wednesday: Joi, John, Heather and Jim

Please join us for the first CC Salon of 2007 at on Wednesday, February 21, from 7-9 PM in San Francisco. It will be major! And, yes, please note, we are not doing this event monthly now, but every other month to maximize the impact in SF!

The line-up for the evening:

* John Wilbanks, Executive Director, Science Commons
* Joi Ito, Web Entrepreneur, Chairman of Creative Commons Board
* Heather Ford, Executive Director, iCommons
* Jim Sowers, Calabash Music and National Geographic, Musical Guest, Discussing state of Digital Music and DJ’ing


The event is free and open to the public. Quick presentations begin at 7 PM and go until 9 PM, but if you’d like to have an informal meeting or get a good seat, get there a bit early (We open the doors at 6 PM). So don’t worry if you’re late; there will be stuff happening all night at Shine, 1337 Mission Street between 9th and 10th Streets. Shine has free wi-fi and a super cool Flickr photo booth. Note: Since Shine is a bar, CC Salon is only open to people who are 21 and older.

Also, plug this event into your digital life on our posting.


CC Salon is a free, casual monthly get-together focused on conversation, presentations, and performances from people or groups who are developing projects that relate to open content and/or software. Please invite your friends, colleagues, and anyone you know who might be interested in drinks and discussion. There are now CC Salons happening in San Francisco, Toronto, Berlin, Beijing, Warsaw, Seoul, Brisbane, and Johannesburg. Read about the first Jo’burg salon on

PS I'm still trying to figure out what to talk about. Any suggestions?

Sorry I didn't post this earlier. Larry blogged about it a few days ago.

Lessig Blog
Looking for a General Counsel for Creative Commons

It is with sadness that I post that we’re looking for a new General Counsel at Creative Commons. After two fantastic years at the legal helm, our current GC, Mia Garlick, like the GC before her, Glenn Brown, has been snatched up by the Google Monster. (It’s a nice monster, but very lawyer-hungry).

This is a insanely cool job, though of course, for only non-profit pay. But for anyone eager to move into a more interesting, remake-the-world kind of practice, check out the description on the CC site.

/me shakes fist at Google Monster. ;-)

I've just been registered as a Performer on Eventful. If you'd like me to participate in some event, try using the "Demand me!" feature on the site. I've been messing around with Eventful a bit and it looks quite interesting. I'm going to try posting my public events using this performer interface.

Seth sent me a DVD of Total Immersion swimming (Wikipedia / Official Site) and I tried some of the drills in it for the first time last night. (Thanks Seth!) It appears to be a unique way of helping swimmers to learn balance, drag reduction and timing through a new approach to learning and thinking about your stroke/style. Some of the drills were difficult for me, but I could tell that it was because my balance was not "natural" yet. It was rather frustrating "starting from scratch" but I'm definitely going to give this a try and see how much my swimming improves. I have a feeling that this rather focused and peaceful style of swimming will suit some of the experiments in meditation that I want to conduct.

In my current journey pushing my limits for improving my heath, I've noticed significant changes in my mental state. I'm often euphoric, generally happy, have a much higher tolerance for stressful situations, am sleeping well and am generally extremely energetic. I have moments of strange memories like being reminded of my high school self when waiting for a train in nice weather.

I think a lot of this can be attributed to the vegan diet, regular exercise, a slight calorie deficit and the goal oriented nature of my journey feeding my obsessive nature. Whatever the cause, I am currently in a somewhat altered state of mind.

One of the things that hasn't been "cured" by my current state is some tension in my neck, shoulders, back and lower-back so I've started stretching more. This reminded me that I used to do some yoga. As I investigated possible ways to learn Yoga, I decided that the most straight forward thing I could probably do was to ask my friend and inspiration to me on many things, Dhananjaya "Jay" Dvidedi. Jay is one of the most peaceful, confident and happy people I know and I also knew that he comes from a family of well known Indian priests.

Over dinner he told me that he practiced Kriya Yoga (WP). Kryiya Yoga is a rather secret school of Yoga that has recently been fairly well documented by Ennio Nimis in his book on his web site. Jay recommended that I read Beyond the Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson, M.D., an Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. In the book Benson describes the importance of the mind in health.

His previous book, "Relaxation Response" was about the role that meditation can play in relieving backaches, chest pains, headaches, high blood pressure, cholesterol, insomnia and anxiety. He describes a basic breathing-based meditation, similar to most Indian, Chinese, Japanese and other meditation forms that focus on breathing.

In this newer book, he explores the role of belief and faith in increasing the effect of meditation. He recounts a conversation with the Dali Lama (WP) where the Dali Lama tells him that the three important points of Tibetan medicine were 1) the belief/faith of the healer, 2) the belief/faith of the patient and 3) the relationship between the two. This coincides with a lot of my experiences and anecdotal evidence that I have.

As I explored this rather spiritual path that I am about to embark upon, I remembered my mother. My mother, who died in 1995, had cancer for decades and survived several times when doctors had told us she only had months to live. My mother was rather spiritual and I believe a lot of the strength and deep confidence that she held was due to her early interactions with cancer and her ability to "beat cancer". I think that as her confidence grew, her spiritual energy grew and towards the end, it was clear that she would be the primary director of when and how she would die. Since my mother's death, I haven't really been thinking seriously about my spiritual side, but it appears that my journey is leading me this way to a certain extent.

The Benson book was very interesting. As a Western scientist, Benson starts by exploring the "Placebo Effect". We all know that there is lots of verifiable evidence of a placebo effect ranging from people's headaches and chest pains going away from placebo pills given by doctors to imagined pregnancy that is extremely physiologically real. Benson uses this as an entry into a discussion about the impact of belief and faith and the real physiological effects of one's mental state. His point is that doctors aren't really tricking people out of fake ailments. Instead, the argument is than a strong belief in yourself, your doctor or your practice can have strong physiological effects which can cure things and improve your body. The word "placebo" has a rather negative connotation in a society where we discount greatly the role that our mind plays in our health, but it is the "hook" that modern medicine has in trying to describe things like meditation.

This discussion tied into one of the funny "issues" that I've been having with my current state. The euphoria and generally happiness I've been having have been attributed by others to things like simple calorie deprivation or just "it's all in your head." After thinking a bit more about this in the context of Benson's book, I suppose it doesn't really matter what the original cause is. My current state of feeling extremely "on top of my health" has a number of positive effects including a dramatic increase in physical activity, happiness and a total recovery of all of the problems reflected in my blood tests.

I am interested in trying to improve my mental state and my ability to use my mental state to improve my health. I am going to continue to explore meditation and read more "cross-over" books like Benson's books that try to describe some of these "phenomenon" in Western terms. However, I'm also going to try to meet practitioners and try to experience things as well.

I'll keep you posted.

Taiichi Fox, who let me ride his Segway back in 2003, has started translating my English language blog posts into Japanese. It is somewhat embarrassing that I can't write well in Japanese, and I am EXTREMELY grateful for Taiichi's support. Thanks!

I just finished reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II. (Amazon)

It is a strong argument in favor of plant-based diets and focuses on the risks and the negative impact of animal-proteins on health. It is more about the science of vegan diets than Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman. For people who might be slightly turned-off by the sometimes salesy tone of Eat to Live, The China Study might be a better first book to read.

The China Study is an amazing argument with a large array of citations and references to supporting studies. The book also goes into the politics and the issues that cause the argument to continue to be called "controversial" by many. He shares war stories of meat and dairy industry interests getting in the way of an objective dialog and actively sabotaging and "spinning" the debate.

When I worked at Energy Conversion Devices, there was a similar resistance to alternative energy and I know all too well how effective this kind of active campaigning against disruptive science can be.

I am fairly convinced by the book that there is an active interest by those in power to prevent the public from consuming less meat and dairy and believe that information about nutrition and it's impact on our health is being prevented from reaching the public as well as our doctors. The book has provided additional incentive for me to look into the cited sources as well as explore how information about nutrition is reaching my friends in the medical profession.

I strongly suggest you read this book if you have any interest in health, diet and medicine.

EDIT: I should probably add, since people ask, the origin of the title. The author of the book was involved a massive "survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan" and describes and cites this study in the book.

From the Magazine.
In Japanese it says:
"Oi Nigger!
Don't be touching a Japanese girl's ass!"
Ejovi, Fukumimi and JapanProbe blog about a mook (magazine/book) published by Eichi called "Gaijin Hanzai Ura File" or "Foreigner Crimes Secret File".

Crimes by foreigners have been a central talking point of the right wing in Japan including Governor Ishihara of Tokyo. This story of foreign criminals being a public issue is a very old political position. For instance, after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, The Home Ministry declared martial law and blamed the Koreans for crimes. Rumors spread blaming Koreans for looting, arson and even poisoning the well. A great number of Koreans were killed/lynched. The official number is around 231 killed but independent studies put the number closer to 2,500. (Wikipedia reference). In Jr. High School, I visited the graves of these Koreans, which exists today in the Arakawa district of Tokyo. If it wasn't for this visit lead by our wonderful Japanese Social Studies teacher at the time, I would never have known about this incident. (Thanks Ms. Anami!)

Several years ago, the Governor of Tokyo made a very controversial speech at a graduation ceremony of the Self-Defense Force telling the young soldiers that during a time of national emergency, they may be called upon to protect the people from people of the "third country" - another name for people of Korean descent.

So while I have sympathy for Ejovi and others, I believe that this "good old fashioned racism" in Japan is pretty deep rooted and held by people in high places in government and corporate Japan. I believe this is one of the most important and fundamental ailments of Japanese society today and we need general awareness to increase on this issue. Many foreign business people in Japan look the other way because talking about such things is "bad for business"... The American Occupation decided to let the right wing movement in Japan survive and thrive choosing it as the lesser of two evils compared to the threat of communism from the USSR. The end of the war would have been the perfect time to squash this thing, but we missed that and now we're stuck with a daunting task that will possibly take generations.

I raise this issue whenever I can and have been labeled a "public enemy" by at least one prominent politician because of this. More people need to speak up spread the word.

Viacom sends a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube alleging that Jim Moore and his friends having ribs on Sunday night is a copyright violation. Doh.

I hope they aren't allowed to get away with this sort of thing with impunity. This "collateral damage" is as bad as the "piracy" they are trying to suppress.

The Emergent Democracy article on Wikipedia has been flagged for deletion. "The article may be deleted if this message remains in place for five days.Prod, concern: WP:NEO and WP:COI This template was added 2007-02-02; five days from then is 2007-02-07." The neutrality is disputed and also is being accused of conflict of interest and neologisms. If you have have an interest in helping keep this article, please contribute to the talk page or help improve the article. I think more citations would help.

FON has trialed giving away free Wi-Fi routers in other regions and is now giving them away in the US together with GigaOM. Basically, this gets you a free FON router which you can use to register as a Fonero. This, in turn, allows you to access any FON access point for free.

Disclaimer : I am on the FON advisory board and helping with FON in Japan.

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