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.

Daylight savings time ended on the weekend, but my mind and body are still adjusting. It's like having mild jet lag, but only once a year. At least I know what day it is ...

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Technology

Learning At 300 Baud, wherein we learn about the Electronic University, an early-ish attempt at digital remote schooling, which in many ways set the template for future attempts at online education.

The Digital Age is Destroying Us, wherein Jonathan Crary argues that the digital age in which we live one which puts too much power into the hands on the levers, will be overthrown by a hybrid material culture based on both old and new ways of living and subsisting cooperatively.

The US military wants to understand the most important software on Earth, wherein we learn about the worries that the American defense establishment has about the Linux kernel, and about open source software in general.

Work

Why the return to the office isn’t working, wherein Rani Molla looks at the various, and conflicting, reasons why that is and how it's not as cut and dry a problem as many make it out to be.

The double standard of the return-to-office, wherein we learn a reason or three that more than a few managers aren't following their employees back into the office.

They Quit. Now You're Picking Up the Slack, wherein Megan Carnegie looks at how, in the light of mass resignations, many companies aren't filling the vacant positions and instead piling more work on the people who've stayed on.

Business and Economics

When Shipping Containers Sink in the Drink, wherein Kathryn Schulz takes us on a short tour of the world of container shipping, and we learn why containers are lost and how shipping companies deal with those losses.

A World Where Finance Is Democratic, wherein Michael A. McCarthy introduces us to minipublics, a somewhat Utopian idea for making finance more democratic, and explains how that idea differs from more libertarian ones being batted around.

The Human Costs of Moving Away From Fossil Fuels, wherein Devika Dutt and Alden Young explore how a shift away from oil is affecting foreign workers in Gulf states, and how that affects local economies in their home countries.

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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

Armchair science, wherein Dean Falk delves into thought experiments, outlines how they can help scientists understand the physical world, and looks at why such experiments can be flawed.

Einstein was right. Flying clocks around the world in opposite directions proved it, wherein Ethan Siegel details an experiment conducted in the late 1950s that tested, and confirmed, Einstein's conjectures around time dilation.

Rise Of The Plant Destroyer, wherein Joe Zadeh looks at the history of plant pathogens, how they spread, and why they can be a major threat to humans.

Online Life

Optimize this headline for Google*, wherein Alexander Fanta explores how periodical publishing has changes and looks at why and how Google became the dominant online meta-publisher in the digital age.

The ‘Form’ Element Created the Modern Web. Was It a Big Mistake?, wherein Paul Ford argues that nearly every problem we face on the internet has its root in the HTML code that lets us input information in to web pages.

Seeding the Cloud, wherein Dwayne Monroe looks at the rise of so-called cloud computing, and how it's widespread adoption and growth has led to the accumulation of a new form of techno-political power.

Arts and Literature

Why Don’t Economists Write More Fiction?, wherein James Broughel ponders whether practitioners of the so-called dismal science could, in fact, write engaging stories, ones which hold a mirror up to our age.

Can science fiction map a positive future?, wherein Tasha Robinson ponders whether SF can show us brighter, more optimistic options for where humanity is heading rather than focusing on darker, more apocalyptic fare.

The Norwegian library with unreadable books, wherein we learn about the Future Library, an art project that collects manuscripts that won't be read for another 100 years.

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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Technology

The smart city is a perpetually unrealized utopia, wherein Chris Salter argues that smart cities aren't a boon to the people living in them because of assumptions that data is more important than the people who created it, we reduce the scope and potential of what diverse human bodies can bring to the “smart city”.

The giant hangar poised for an aviation revolution, wherein we get a glimpse into a project with the goal of reviving the airship in the 21st century, and get a look at the challenges that the project faces.

Is your smartphone ruining your memory? A special report on the rise of ‘digital amnesia’, wherein Rebecca Seal takes us into the current thinking and research about how using technology to offload our memories is affecting our brains and our relationships with our environments.

Ideas

The art of listening, wherein we learn about active listening, which grants us one of the most accessible and most powerful forms of connection we have.

What is a Life?, wherein Venkatesh Rao explores that question and shows us that the answer isn't as straightforward as it may seem.

Reading Ourselves to Death, wherein Kit Wilson examines how, during many of our waking hours, we're awash in text, and how that's changing our perception of the world and of ourselves.

Odds and Ends

I’m nearly 60. Here’s what I’ve learned about growing old so far, wherein Tim Dowling takes a mildly-humorous look at aging, but also nails a few truths about getting older.

The Theft of the Commons, wherein Eula Biss looks at how the concept of private property developed over the ages, and what it means today.

The Prehistory of the Fairy Realm, wherein Ronald Hutton looks at the belief in tiny, magical forest beings in the Great Britain of the past, and how that developed into a belief of a single established fairy realm which interacts with the human 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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Space

Elon Musk’s Plan to Send a Million Colonists to Mars by 2050 Is Pure Delusion, wherein George Dvorsky looks at the various challenges that are blocking the billionaire's grand plan to put people on the Red Planet, and how humans aren't up to overcoming those challenges.

The aircraft that will never fly on Earth, wherein we learn about the challenges that engineers face in creating flying machines that can operate in the atmospheres of Earth's planetary neighbours.

Here Comes the Sun—to End Civilization, wherein we learn about coronal mass ejections, storms of charged particles pushed away from the sun, and how they can mess with us here on Earth.

Online Life

What Lies Beneath, wherein Laura Maw takes us into the horror architecture of the internet, where new is routinely bolted on to old and pages and links are dead (often without people realizing it).

Hell Is Ourselves, wherein Laurence Scott looks at how sites like Facebook and Twitter adapt what they present to us based on our online behaviours, and how both validating and disturbing that is.

The Victim Cloud, wherein Hannah Zeavin dives into digital scams, and looks at why far too many people fall for them.

Work

Everything's a WeWork Now, wherein we learn about the post-pandemic resurgence of the co-working space, and how more companies are switching to those kind of flexible spaces as their offices.

The gig workers fighting back against the algorithms, wherein we learn how drivers and riders for app-based transportation services in Indonesia are banding together to protect and support each other.

Silicon Valley’s Horrible Bosses, wherein Charlie Warzel looks at the increasingly-prevalent management style of some tech CEOs — a style that's high-handed, confrontational, controlling, and downright offensive.

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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Technology

Remembering Apple’s Newton, 30 years on, wherein Jeremy Reimer looks back at Apple's PDA from the 90s, and how laid out the template for Apple's mobile devices to come.

American Reams, wherein David J. Under explores the worlds of paper and digital, their points of intersection, and ponders why one hasn't supplanted the other.

$100 Million to Cut the Time Tax, wherein we learn how the non-profit group Code for America is trying to help make it easier for people in need to apply for government benefits.

Ideas

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Bird, wherein we learn how the hobby of birding changed (and might have saved) the life of one person, and learn about birding from the perspective of both hobbyists and professional ornithologists.

Nostalgia: powerful, poignant — and a painkiller, wherein Jonny Thomson walks us through the good and bad about reminiscing on the past, and how occasionally looking back is mightily good for you to do so.

Meta Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does, wherein Caleb Madison examines the etymology of the word, and how it's been co-opted and misused by hipsters.

Odds and Ends

The Surreal Case of a C.I.A. Hacker’s Revenge, wherein we learn how a programmer involved with coding some of the spy agency's cyber weapons may have leaked those digital tools not for ideology but to stick it to his co-workers.

English is not normal, wherein John McWhorter explores the almost nightmarish idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies that make English a rather unique language (and probably not in a good way).

Explore the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, wherein Sleiman Azizi takes us on a tour of the major stops on one of the Japanese capital's main subway lines.

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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

The legacy of Liverpool’s forgotten synchrocyclotron, wherein we learn about the (very large) device that helped the city's university shape and advance experimental physics and why those contributions have faded from memory.

Physicists Rewrite the Fundamental Law That Leads to Disorder, wherein we learn a bit about the Second Law of Thermodynamics and how some researchers are now recasting that law so it better meshes with quantum theory.

How to use food to help your mood, wherein Kimberley Wilson explores food’s potential to affect how people feel, both in positive and negative ways.

Arts and Literature

The Birth of the Egghead Paperback, wherein we discover how Jason Epstein helped take the paperback from being a delivery mechanism for cheap, mass-market books to being a source of higher-brow fiction and non fiction.

The big idea: could the greatest works of literature be undiscovered?, wherein Laura Spinney looks at the amount of literature that's been lost over the centuries, and delves into what we might be missing.

Why comic books became a more of a writer's and less of an artist's medium, wherein Jim McLauchlin explores the changes over the last few decades to the way in which comics are created, and why that medium now seems to be driven by words first rather than visuals first.

Odds and Ends

How to Put Life on Easy Mode, wherein Leo Babauta explains how to reach a state of effortless and relaxation even if you're supremely busy.

The Sit-Up Is Over, wherein we learn how the venerable abdominal exercise became a staple of physical development programs and why it's fallen out of favour.

The Colorful History of Haribo Goldbears, the World’s First Gummy Bears, wherein we learn the origins of those little chewy confections and about the German company that brought them to a mass audience.

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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

The Dark Side of Technology

Roving Eyes, wherein Tracy Valcourt surveys the growing landscape of vehicle-mounted citizen surveillance tools and how those tools feed off of, and into, a lot of unjustified paranoia.

Was You’ve Got Mail Trying to Warn Us About the Internet? (Or Telling Us to Give Up?), wherein Olivia Rutigliano examines the popular 90s rom-com and its messages (intentional or not) about big tech and the threat online businesses pose to their bricks-and-mortar counterparts.

Digital Technology Demands A New Political Philosophy, wherein Jamie Susskind ponders the threat that Big Tech can pose to democracy and how it can be regulated.

Business and Economics

Who owns Einstein? The battle for the world’s most famous face, wherein we learn about the publicity rights to images of the legendary physicist, and how by leveraging (and enforcing) those rights the holder has raked in millions.

Something We Can All Agree On? Corporate Buzzwords Are the Worst, where we reach into the Gobbledygook on Olympus files and dig up some more egregious examples of jargon and buzzwords used in the corporate world.

The Rise and Fall of Wall Street’s Most Controversial Investor, wherein we learn how maverick fund manager Cathie Wood's controversial, and very risky, market bets finally caught up with her.

Odds and Ends

The accidental invention of the Illuminati conspiracy, wherein we learn about the conjecture that swirls around a long-dead Bavarian secret society, and about conspiracy theories in general.

‘Pickleball Is the Wild, Wild West’: Inside the Fight Over the Fastest-Growing Sport in America, wherein we get a look into the politics, infighting, backbiting, and rivalries around an unlikely sport whose popularity was soared in recent years.

Gilbert Highet, the First Celebrity Classicist, wherein we learn how a scholar, toiling in an often-maligned field, became a household name in the pre-internet era, and how he paved the way for Classicists to enjoy greater visibility than he did.

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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Ideas

The lady vanishes, wherein learn about philosopher Mary Hesse and her ideas, and how she and those ideas were gradually eased into obscurity — a victim of collective forgetting.

Philosophy for Passengers: Reflections on 'Passenger Time', wherein Michael Marder looks at different, sometimes slower and more relaxed, ways of perceiving time.

Skepticism is a way of life that allows democracy to flourish, wherein Nicholas Tampio looks at what skepticism actually is, and it's not the dogged and stubborn and inflexible contrariness that many perceive it to be.

Writing

Andrew Chee on staying organized while writing, wherein the [what kind of writer] explains how he keeps track of what he's written and how he tracks revisions.

How to Be an Incipit, wherein Paul Vacca looks at first sentences and what makes a great one.

Aristotle goes to Hollywood, wherein we learn that ancient Greek philosopher's Poetics encapsulates all the rules of storytelling, rules which are still relevant and useful to writers today.

Odds and Ends

The Future of Tokyo, wherein Cole Lubchenko looks at how Japan's largest city is planning to transform itself into an urban area that is friendlier to pedestrians (and the environment).

Lost in Thought, wherein we learn about research that indicates prolonged meditation can have harmful psychological effects on some people.

What would a flying-free world look like?, wherein Jocelyn Timperley examines the impact on the environment, economies, and on people if we all stopped traveling by air.

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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Crime

How I Infiltrated One of L.A.’s Most Vicious Motorcycle Gangs—and Lived to Talk About It, wherein a retired federal agent recounts his time, deep undercover, with a dangerous California biker gang and how his work helped slow the growth of that gang down.

Inside the Tow Truck Mafia: How Organized Crime Took Over Canada’s Towing Industry, wherein we learn how towing damaged and broken down vehicles in Ontario, Canada became a cutthroat business run by organized crime.

'This Wasn't His First Time', wherein we learn how lawyer Matthew Meller became the prime suspect in a bizarre series of home invasions and what drove him to allegedly committing those crimes.

History

Derinkuyu: Mysterious underground city in Turkey found in man’s basement, wherein we learn how what started as a simple home renovation project uncovered a large, ancient underground living space.

A Surprise Cave Finding Has Once Again Upended Our Story of Humans Leaving Africa, wherein we learn about a recent archaeological find which shows that modern humans may have been in western Europe earlier than originally thought.

Life in early cities: on neighbourhoods and energised crowding, wherein we learn how the growth of neighbourhoods in early cities had a variety of impacts on those cities.

Ideas

Little White Lies, wherein John-Paul Heil explores the idea that deception was vital for leaders to maintain society, but any deception must be for the greater good and not only for the benefit of those leaders.

How I Started to See Trees as Smart, wherein Matthew Hutson dives into the latest thinking into intelligence in entire living systems, and how altering our states of mind can help us perceive that intelligence.

How to think about free will, wherein Julian Baggini explores the ideas of choice and inevitability, and whether or not there's such a thing as free will.

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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Environment

Clean energy is buried at the bottom of abandoned oil wells, wherein we learn about efforts to repurpose old oil and gas wells as cleaner sources of geothermal energy.

Why the Age of Fire Is Over—We Know How to Live Without It, wherein Lloyd Alter explains why we no longer need to burn things like wood or fossil fuels to provide us with power and warmth.

The air conditioning paradox, wherein we explore the problem with cooling ourselves as the world gets warmer, and whether those efforts are making climate change worse.

Technology

Agile and the Long Crisis of Software, wherein we learn how and why the titular software development method came about, and why it might not be the solution that its creators intended (or thought) it to be.

The Internet Is Not as New as You Think, wherein Justin E. H. Smith argues that what we call the internet is just the latest permutation of a complex of behaviours that is part of the core of living things.

Japan once led global tech innovation. How did it fall so behind?, wherein Roland Kelts explores why Japan's digital ecosystem seems to be a strange hodgepodge of (incomplete) modern tech and systems from the early 2000s.

Business and Economics

The Smash-and-Grab Economy, wherein we learn how private equity firms have, and continue to, harm the economy and with that the lives of ordinary people.

How Much Is the Ocean Worth?, wherein we learn how an economist and a psychologist are trying to translate the value of living whales and entire ecosystems into dollars and cents as a way to incentivize their protection.

Castles & Capitalists, wherein we learn how the creators of Dungeons & and Dragons not only had to deal with backlash from the religious right but also had to fight each other for a share in the profits that their creation generated.

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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