The Monday Kickoff

Start your week with nine curated reads, served fresh each Monday

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

To be honest, I've been overwhelmed with fascinating articles to read over the last couple or three weeks. It's been hard to choose between everything that's passed before my eyes but I hope you find this week's collection of links worth reading.

And if you haven't already, please consider subscribing to my newsletter Weekly Musings. Thanks!

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Technology

My advice after a year without tech: rewild yourself, wherein Mark Boyle explains why he chose to live without modern technology, and what you can do to make that tech a less pervasive presence in your life.

Suriname community uses new open-source app to preserve storytelling traditions, wherein we learn how groups are using open source technologies to preserve the oral histories and traditions of the Matawai people.

How a Phone Glitch Sparked a Teenage Riot, wherein we hear the tale of how a group of Swedish teens in the 1980s found a way to create their own chat lines using a flaw in the country's telephone system, how a mass gathering organized that way went awry, and how that led to a shift in Swedish society.

Business

Will Amazon Finally Kill New York?, wherein Rebecca McCarthy looks at the issues surrounding Amazon's new headquarters in New York City through the lens of the book Seasonal Associate, and examins how that move heralds scary changes to the notions of how we'll work in the future.

MacKenzie Bezos and the Myth of the Lone Genius Founder, wherein we learn that a successful startup is successful not (just) because of its founder but due to the often-unseen efforts of the people working with and under that founder.

How the Market Abandoned Morality, wherein we're (re)introduced to the problems caused by free markets, and how a return to ethics in policymaking might be able to help fix those problems.

Politics

The Second Half of Watergate Was Bigger, Worse, and Forgotten By the Public, wherein we learn of the events that led to the U.S. enacting sweeping corporate anti-bribery laws in the 1970s, and how those laws hardened into a misguided policy.

When Is a Meme a Foreign-Influence Operation?, wherein we discover how Russia, using accounts on Facebook, targeted black Americans in the run up to the 2016 presidential election, and how they were able to do so with impunity.

The Pirate Radio Broadcaster Who Occupied Alcatraz and Terrified the FBI, wherein we learn about John Trudell, who used the power of (pirate) radio to advocate politically for Native Americans and in doing so changed the face of activism.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

Another month down, another month starts. And we're into a strange one — a month that's shorter than the rest, and which is usually one of the coldest (for those in the northern hemisphere) or one of the hottest (for those of us below the equator). February is also a month during which strange and interesting things happen. It should be fascinating to watch how the month unfolds.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Arts and Literature

Mistress of a New World: Early Science Fiction in Europe’s “Age of Discovery”, wherein we explore the novel The Blazing World in which its author, Margaret Cavendish, laid down the basic template for future works of speculative fiction.

Remember Me on This Computer, wherein A. S. Hamrah recounts his career as a film critic, and examines what's wrong with today's world of film criticism.

James Baldwin and the Lost Giovanni’s Room Screenplay, wherein we learn about the decades-long struggle to bring James Baldwin's nove to the screen, a struggle that continues to this day.

Crime

Blood Cries Out, wherein we learn the story of a murder in 1990 that still divides a town in Missouri and the efforts to free the man wrongly accused of committing that murder.

The unbelievable tale of a fake hitman, a kill list, a darknet vigilante... and a murder, wherein we hear the tale of how a technologist took down a scamming murder-for-hire site on the so-called dark web, and what happened after that.

The Man Who Cracked the Lottery, wherein we discover how, via a network of friends and acquaintances, how Eddie Tipton managed to defraud the Hot Lotto lottery of millions.

Productivity

A More Deliberate Way of Living, wherein Leo Babauta shares nine tips, all of them simple and effective, that can help us maneuver through the chaos and demands of everyday life.

Attention is not a resource but a way of being alive to the world, wherein we discover that the concept of attention goes far deeper than what the merchants of the so-called attention economy are peddling.

How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation, wherein we learn how a skewed work ethic, a glorification of hyper productivity, and a radically-changed job market is ruining a generation.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

It's Auckland Anniversary day (yes, that's really a thing), but that doesn't have anything to do with this week's reading. I just wanted to share that with you. And to show you that even on a public holiday, I'm not slacking off!

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Ideas

Material Intelligence, wherein we're encouraged to learn more about the physical objects around us — not just manufactured ones, but ones in nature too.

What does it mean to be ‘moved’ by something?, wherein Matthew Parris ruminates on those moments that, out of nowhere, profoundly (and often momentarily) touch us in ways we don't expect them to.

What War of the Worlds did, wherein Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey reflects on the infamous 1938 radio braodcast and analyzes its parallels with the fake news of today.

Writing

Does Great Writing Require Solitude?, wherein, via a series of emails, three writers try to answer that question, but also reveal some things about themselves and about the way they approach their craft.

Writing to Avoid Erasure, wherein Amir Mrjoian explains how his Armenian heritage has influenced and informed his choices as a writer of both fiction and essays.

Everything Is for Sale Now. Even Us, wherein Ruth Whippman refflects on life as a freelance writer and how turning to freelance work and the so-called gig economy is, for many, a necessity in order to eat.

Odds and Ends

Bohemian Rhapsody in Five Acts, wherein Tiffany Murray shares some of her memories as a (then) seven year old when the rock band Queen rehearsed at her family home in the English countryside.

Students Want to Write Well; We Don’t Let Them, wherein, framed by the inflexible way that students are taught to write, we're reminded of how rigid, too-narrowly-focused, and grinding the U.S. education system has become.

Selling Vintage Records in Tokyo, wherein we meet Koya Abe, owner of Noah Lewis’ Records, and learn about his love of pre-rock American music and about the joys and struggles he faces peddling used vinyl in Japan.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

It's hard to believe that we're entering week three of 2019. I don't know about you, but I'm still getting something of a 2018 vibe from the year. Not sure whether that's bad or if it's good. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

Digitizing the vast 'dark data' in museum fossil collections, wherein we discover how much museums hold and which we never see, and the efforts to preserve that mass of fossils to ensure scholars can continue to study the past, even if a disaster strikes.

The Concrete Jungle, wherein we discover how urban environments are jumpstarting evolution for various species of wildlife, at a rate that even biologists find astounding.

Science’s Freedom Fighters, wherein we learn that science isn't always as apolitical as we've been told it is, and how that was especially true during the Cold War.

Technology

Forget Zuckerberg: the tech giants don’t have to own the future, wherein John Harris ponders whether our technological future lies with smaller firms outside of the U.S., but only if those firms can survive and thrive.

Why Doctors Hate Their Computers, wherein Atul Gawande looks at how complex software not only frustrates doctors (and others), but also puts a dent in their productivity and forces them to work even longer hours.

Fifty years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal, wherein we're taken on a trip down computing memory lane and discover the origins of BASIC, and why and how it influence a generation of computer users.

Odds and Ends

A New Front Line, wherein we enter the worlds of modern reporters and citizen journalists, and the dangers many of them face while trying to uncover and report on stories.

Do You Even Bake, Bro?, wherein we see how (mostly male) denizens of Silicon Valley have taken the simple act of baking your own bread and turned it into both a competition and something more complex than it needs to be.

Inside the Great Electromagnetic Resistance, wherein we briefly enter the world of electrically-sensitive people, learn about their struggles, and about their fight against more wireless technology being deployed.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

Even though I've been living at the bottom of the world for over six years, the northern hemisphere native in me sometimes still has a hard time processing that summer can come in January. I'm not complaining, though. I don't miss the snow and sub-zero temps of a Canadian winter.

And a quick reminder about my newsletter, Weekly Musings. If you're interested in a short essay on what's captured my interest in the last seven days, you can subscribe here.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

History and Archaeology

New dates for ancient stone tools in China point to local invention of complex technology, wherein we learn of an archaeological discovery that shows how certain early tool making techniques developed in parallel between Africa and China.

Divining the Witch of York: Propaganda and Prophecy, wherein we hear the tale of 16th century sooth teller Mother Shipton, and learn a bit about why people embrace and fear prophecies.

How the Ancient Egyptian economy laid the groundwork for building the pyramids, wherein we learn about the power behind the power that enabled the pharoahs to build their monuments cum tombs.

Ideas

Slow Thought: a manifesto, wherein we learn that taking time to think and deliberate not only has a place in teh modern world, but that it's also essential.

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, wherein we explore the ideas of loneliness and solitude, which seem similar but which have entirely different meanings and connotations.

Why it is (almost) impossible to teach creativity, wherein we learn that true creativity goes beyond solving problems, and that educators need to stop stifling creativity and imagination with the results-based curricula they use.

Writing

MTA Versus MFA: On Trains as Writing Spaces, wherein Panio Gianopoulos teaches us that a noisy, crowded train can be the sanctuary that enables some writers to do the work.

Looking for a Model, wherein the legendary writer and teacher William Zinsser discusses who influenced his style as a scribe, and how he found his true writing voice when he was in his 50s.

What big data can tell us about how a book becomes a best-seller, wherein Albert-László Barabási looks at the numbers, and discusses patterns that can help determine whether or not a book will become a best seller.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

We're a week into a new year. I hope things are looking good, or looking up, for you. It's too early to say how the year is going to go, but we can all be positive, can't we?

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

The Horrors of Facebook

'It's digital colonialism': how Facebook's free internet service has failed its users, wherein we discover that some internet might not be better than no internet, and how services like Facebook's Free Basics can contribute to the spread of misinformation and track users.

The Autocracy App, wherein we read about how Facebook doesn't just undermine privacy but also inflicts harm on democracies around the globe, and just how difficult it might be to reign in the company and wean people off it.

“He Doesn’t Believe in It”: Mark Zuckerberg Has Never Cared About Your Privacy, and He’s Not Going to Change, wherein we see how Facebook's problems with (your) privacy stem from the attitudes of the people at the top of the company, and how most users don't seem to care.

Productivity

The lost art of concentration: being distracted in a digital world, wherein we're (re)introduced to the various ways the digital world has pummelled our concentration and attention, and learn some effective techniques for getting them back.

What’s All This About Journaling?, wherein yet another person discovers the productivity (and therapeutic) benefits of writing in a journal — benefits researchers are actually studying.

How productivity tools hurt your work relationships, wherein we discover that while so-called productivity tools can give us a boost, they can do so at the cost of face-to-face interaction with our co-workers and teams.

Odds and Ends

How Curry Became a Japanese Naval Tradition, wherein we learn about the Japanese navy using a unique take on the venerable Indian dish to stave off beriberi, and how that dish became popular with wider Japanese society.

The Past, Present, and Future of 'Asteroids', wherein the origins of the classic arcade game are presented to us, we discover its influence on future programmers is presented to us, and we learn why Asteroids remains popular decades after its debut.

The Time Capsule That's as Big as Human History, wherein we're told the tale of Martin Kunze's efforts to create a time capsule, deep within an Austrian salt mine, that consists of ceramic tablets preserving the stories of ordinary people around the world.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

It's hard to believe 2018 is about to come to an end — that's how quickly the year has flashed by. To be honest, it's been a mixed year for me. Low key, but also occasionally disappointing. Let's hope 2019 turns things around. For us all. Everywhere.

And let's keep this thought from Warren Ellis at the front of our minds over the next 365 or so days:

A thought for the new year: try to stay home for a bit and make some things that might last, please?

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Arts and Literature

Did the Creator of The Twilight Zone Plagiarize Ray Bradbury?, wherein we're walked through the contention of science fiction legend Ray Bradbury (and others) that Rod Serling indirectly copied the work of various SF writers, and how that contention killed a friendship.

City of screens, wherein Anna Aslanyan explores four short films which attempt to capture the experience of interacting with cities through new technologies.

Why Translation Deserves Scrutiny, wherein Tim Parks ponders whether literary translators should be given some leeway to make gaffes, or if criticizing a translation for plain errors is hardly a crime.

Ideas

The Archipelago of Hope, wherein Gleb Raygorodetsky explains how the inextricable relationship between Indigenous cultures and their territories forms the foundation for climate change resilience.

Should you feel sad about the demise of the handwritten letter?, wherein we learn why letters crafted with pen and paper can create a lasting, more human connection between the writer and the reader.

Dystopia In Fiction And In Fact, wherein we discover that an authoritarian dystopia might not play out as it would in George Orwell's 1984, but could be happening without us even knowing it.

Crime

The Hunt for the Watch Thieves of Southern California, wherein we hear the story of how a promising professional baseball prospect and a hardened felon teamed up to undertake one of the most sophisticated and lucrative smash and grab crimes in U.S. history.

The Watcher, wherein we learn how a family buying their dream home in a small New Jersey town walked into a nightmare all thanks to someone sending them anonymous, sinister letters.

The Stranger in the Shelter, wherein we hear the tale of the first documented murder on the Appalachian Trail, and what happened to the three people involved in that tale before and after the fateful event in 1974.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

It's Christmas Eve here at the bottom of the world, and I still published a new Kickoff. Don't say I never get you anything. Seriously, though, for those of you who celebrate the season, have a merry one. If you don't, I hope you get to take some time off, and spend some of that time with those you're closest to.

And just a reminder: my newsletter, Weekly Musings, debuts on January 9, 2019. If you want to read my (informed) opinions on a new topic every seven days, you can subscribe here.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Business

Tech Workers Now Want to Know: What Are We Building This For?, wherein we discover that more and more employees of tech firms, both large and small, are finally questioning the ethics of (some) of what their employers are creating.

The Crash That Failed, wherein Robert Kuttner recounts the 2008 financial crisis, which should have discredited the belief that unregulated markets produce and distribute good and services more efficiently and how, in the aftermath of the crisis, it's a case of meet the new (financial) boss, same as the old boss.

The real Goldfinger: the London banker who broke the world, wherein we hear the tale of how Siegmund Warburg created a new way for the rich to shuffle money around the world, which revitalized the City of London and eventually led to today's stratospheric inequality

Technology

Look up from your screen, wherein Nicholas Tampio argues that an education involves more than feeding facts into brains via a screen, but rather requires a mix of the passive and the tactile.

All In: The Hidden History of Poker and Crypto, wherein Morgen Peck ponders how the problems online poker encountered in the early 2000s might have been the inspiration for Satoshi Nakajima to create Bitcoin, and explores how that's influencing the development of cryptocurrecy today.

Delete Your Account Now, wherein Harper Simon sits down with digital contrarian Jaron Lanier and discusses how and why the online world has become such a toxic place, and we learn why we should consider sending our social media accounts to the glue factory.

Productivity

Disconnect, wherein we learn that to be our most productive and creative we need to back away. Not just from the internet, but from people and things that can distract us.

A neuroscientist’s baby-step guide from multitasking to single-tasking, wherein we get three pieces of simple, solid advice that can help us complete the task (yes, the use of the singular is deliberate) at hand.

The Little Handbook for Getting Stuff Done, wherein Leo Babauta looks at the benefits of getting stuff done and outlines a program to help us do just that.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and I'm not just talking about what's making the biggest headlines. Sometimes, you just need to step back to clear the palette of your brain. I hope this week's collection of articles is part of your antidote for what's going on and what could be overwhelming you.

And just a reminder: my newsletter, called Weekly Musings, is going live on January 9, 2019. If you're interested, you can subscribe here.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Ideas

How social networks can save lives when disasters strike, wherein Daniel P. Aldrich outlines his reasearch into why people don't leave in the face of danger and how people's social networks impact their evacuation behavior.

We're Not Ready for Mars, wherein Justin Nobel presents a contrarian view of space exploration and colonization, and argues that the attitudes, hubris, and (lack of) morals that are destroying the Earth will do the same in space.

Can libraries save America?, wherein we discover the true power of libraries — places where people from all walks of life can come together in a safe space to learn, to escape, and to join a wider community.

Writing

How to write the perfect sentence, wherein we get some solid advice, and some great examples, of how to make your sentences sing and shine.

The Step Before Writing, wherein we learn something that I've been saying for years: when publishing on the web (or elsewhere), quality is more important than quantity. And quality starts with planning.

The Gilded Age of (Unpaid) Internet Writing, wherein Rebecca Schuman looks back at her introduction to webzines in the late 1990s, and how those publications have devalued (in dollar terms) the work of writers to this day.

Odds and Ends

Project for a Trip to the Golden Venture Crash Site, wherein writer Lisa Chen tries to find the scene of the 1993 wreck of the Golden Venture, and weaves a tale what happened to the migrants who fled that sinking ship.

These 1930s Housewives Were the Godmothers of Radical Consumer Activism, wherein we hear the tale of how a group of housewives in Depression-era Detroit took to the streets, and to Washington, to protest the high price of meat, and what became of their efforts.

Glorious pages and paper balls, wheerin we're introduced to a sweeping history of secret intelligence services in Russia, and learn why it's important to take a long view of both intelligence and international relations.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

A little news: starting January 9, 2019 I'll be publishing an email newsletter called Weekly Musings. The bulk of the newsletter will be a short essay — weighing in at anywhere from 500 to 1,200 words — on whatever topic caught my interest over the previous seven days. I'm hoping it'll be an interesting and edifying ride.

You can get in on the ground floor of Weekly Musings by subscribing here. And, no, I won't use your email address for anything other than the newsletter. Promise!

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Algorithms and Us

Autonomous Everything: How Algorithms Are Taking Over Our World, wherein security expert Bruce Schneier explores how our dependency on automated systems causes problems, and opens doors to even bigger problems.

Decision Engines, wherein John Menick weaves a fanciful essay fiction that takes us through various scenarios showing how self-driving vehicles could become deadly hazards to unsuspecting pedestrians.

God is in the machine, wherein we discover what algorithms are, get a high-level look at how they work, and learn that even the people crafting algorithms sometimes don't know what their creations do or can do.

Arts and Literature

The Radio Auteur: Joe Frank, Ira Glass, and Narrative Radio, wherein we get a glimpse into the evolution of two similar, yet quite different, radio raconteurs and how those similarities and differences made for some innovative radio.

Little Bits of Paper Everywhere: An Oral History of Snipehunt Magazine and Kathy Molloy, wherein we get a glimpse at the quarterly magazine that helped shape the tenor and taste of the art scene in Portland in the 1990s, and learn about the woman who was the magazine's driving force.

Grandville, Visions, and Dreams, wherein we're introduced to the stunning, often biting, but always fascinating and innovative work of the 19th century French graphic artist J.J.Grandville.

Science

Rewritable Paper, wherein we find out about a new way to save trees: paper that isn't paper, which you can print on and then erase and then print on again. Science to the rescue once more.

Neanderthals were no brutes – research reveals they may have been precision workers, wherein we learn that Neanderthals were actually a lot more similar to modern humans than we've been led to believe, right down to how they gripped and used objects.

The Race to Reinvent Cement, wherein we learn how researchers and startups are trying to perfect a form of cement that lowers or eliminates the CO2 emissions associated with the process of creating this most important building material.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

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