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.

This time 'round, I've opted for a slightly different mix of categories. Two dovetail nicely, while the other really stands out. You'll know what I mean in a moment.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Writing

The Liberation and Consternation of Writing a Whole Book with Paper and Pen, wherein author Jeff Gordinier guides us, while writing this article on a train, through the joys and perils of writing a first draft (of anything) by hand.

Novelist Cormac McCarthy’s tips on how to write a great science paper , wherein the celebrated author offers up some great tips for researchers writing journal articles, and for anyone writing anything else.

The Three Words That Almost Ruined Me As a Writer: 'Show, Don't Tell', wherein Sonya Huber explains why that classic bit of writing advice doesn't always work and doesn't always apply to what you're writing.

Arts and Literature

On Narrative Medicine and Finding a New Language For Illness, wherein Marcus Creaghan argues that we need to find newer, more expressive ways for patients to explain what ails them and for doctors to learn how to coax that information out of those patients.

Gaugin and Van Gogh’s social networks, wherein we learn that two artists, who are widely considered to be solitary figures, actually leaned on a wide network of social and personal connections as they created their masterpieces.

Carol Reed’s ‘The Third Man’: How Orson Welles Stole a Show He Was Barely In, wherein we go behind the scenes of the classic thriller, and learn not only how Orson Welles put his stamp on the film but also get insights into the script, casting, directing, and editing.

The Dark Side of Technology

The biggest lie tech people tell themselves — and the rest of us, wherein Rose Eveleth argues that inexorable march of technology isn't a matter of evolution, regardless of the flip and often naive pronouncements of the people who create that tech.

Omniviolence is Coming, and the World Isn't Ready, wherein we're introduced to the concept technology-based omniviolence, learn how easily malicious individuals can perpetrate it, and discover ways in which to combat it.

Privacy is Power, wherein Carissa Véliz walks us through what power is, how it's used, and why your privacy is a form of power (even if you think you're insignificant).

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.

I'm not in any mood to mess around with marginally-witty or barely-profound intros today, so instead let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

The Theranos Effect: When Cutting-Edge Scientists Are Frauds, wherein we get a brief glimpse at some researchers who perpetuated medical research frauds, why they did it, and the aftermath of those frauds.

The Storytelling Computer, wherein we're introduced to the work of the late AI researcher Patrick Henry Winston who believed that storytelling was so central to human intelligence, it was also the key to creating sentient machines.

Publish houses of brick, not mansions of straw, wherein William G. Kaelin Jr. argues that researchers need to publish scientific papers with more depth rather than papers packed with overly-broad claims and piles of data and citations.

History

Blast From the Past, wherein various experts discuss a secret nuclear weapons test in 1979, carried out by an ally of the U.S.,which the U.S. covered up, and the implications that test could have on us today.

Shackleton’s Medical Kit, wherein Gavin Francis reflects on his time as medical officer at Halley Research Station in Antarctica, and ponders how medicine has advanced since the time Ernest Shackleton explored the frozen continent.

The Only WWII Battle On American Soil Left 5 Dead — And No Trace Of The Enemy, wherein we learn a bit about 1942's so-called Battle of Los Angeles which, in a country stoked by fear and paranoia, caused damage to the city but which resulted in no enemy losses.

Odds and Ends

An Illustrated History of the Picnic Table, wherein we trace the evolution of the humble picnic table from its origins as an ad-hoc creation to something that changed our relationship with the outdoors.

The Mysterious Evacuation of Sunspot Observatory, wherein we learn about the conspiracy theories surrounding the sudden closure of a research facility in New Mexico, and the very earthbound explanation for that closure.

Curses! The birth of the bleep and modern American censorship, wherein we discover the history of the famous broadcast censorship bleep, and how it's been used, abused, and parodied over the decades.

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 a new week, with a new mix of articles to fill your brain with thoughts and ideas. And who says Monday is the worst day of the week?

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Arts and Literature

The Czech Play That Gave Us the Word ‘Robot’, wherein we learn about Karel Čapek's play R.U.R., and how it shows humanity's hubris by trying to create artificial life.

The Life and Death of an American Indie Press , wherein we hear the tale of Curbside Splendor, a small publisher in Chicago that gained a reputation for both publishing solid books from first-time authors and for stiffing those authors.

Books Won't Die, wherein we go back to a topic I wrote about in 1993: that despite all the advances and so-called innovation in reading technology, the printed book will continue to survive.

Productivity

Live on Purpose, wherein Leo Babauta discusses ways in which we can try to liberate ourselves from our daily grinds, and suggests how we can live with a purpose.

The Key For Remembering, Organizing And Using Everything You Read, wherein Ryan Holiday explains how he uses note cards to become better organized, more creative, and more productive.

Think long term. That's it. That's the advice., wherein we learn how short-term thinking has longer-term repercussions, and about the importance of (and difficulty in) breaking the cycle of focusing on the short term.

Technology

The crowdfunded phone of the future was a multimillion-dollar scam, wherein we learn the story of the Dragonfly Futurefön, a bleeding-edge, crowdfunded device that never saw the light of day, and discover the legal drama involving its creator that unfolded.

Four Years in Startups, wherein Anna Wiener describes how she fell into working for a series of tech startups, and how she became disillusioned with them and the culture that they uniformly incubated.

The Decentralized Web Is Coming, wherein we get a peek at where the web could be going: shifting away from corporate control and back to the original vision for the web. Fingers crossed ...

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.

Instead of me prattling on about whatever, let's get this Monday started with these links:

Environment

Designing new ways to make use of ocean plastic, wherein we're exposed to new ways in which some people are reusing and recycling plastic dumped into the ocean, and discover that much more can and should be done.

How NYC is protecting people from the deadliest disaster, wherein we learn how New York City's efforts to shield its residents from the extremes of weather, and the challenges the city is facing in the age of rapid climate change.

Betting the Farm on the Drought, wherein we learn about how some farmers in the U.S. are adapting to, and trying to mitigate the effects of, climate change (which they're more than a little skeptical of).

Ideas

Dwelling as Resistance, wherein Nicholas Ferguson takes us into the world of squatters occupying land that London's Heathrow airport wants to use for an expansion, and discover how a resistance and a community have taken shape there.

The Scale Of What We’re Up Against, wherein Nathan J. Robinson outlines an alternative to the cutthroat, free market vision of libertarians that actually takes people into account.

Across The Field, wherein Jonathan Gharraie talks about the connection and relationship he has with the fields near his home in England, fields he walks almost every day.

Odds and Ends

“Did fire come to Paradise or did Paradise go to the fire?”, wherein we read about the aftermath of one of the worst wildfires in California's history in the town of Paradise, and about the practices of the greedy and corrupt utility whose negligence helped start that fire.

'We Have Fire Everywhere', wherein we hear some very personal, very harrowing stories of people who managed escape the wildfire in Paradise, California.

The American Missionary and the Uncontacted Tribe, wherein we hear the story of how a young American, filled with irrational evangelical verve, embraced the foolhardy belief that he could convert an isolated tribe to his faith, and how that became a fatal mistake.

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 2019 will be over in a handful of weeks. This year seems to have zoomed by, faster than other years have. But seeing as we still have nine more weeks left in 2019, why not make the most of them?

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Work

Why do we work so hard?, wherein Ryan Avent muses about the pros and cons (with, for him, the pros outweighing the cons) of the treadmill that's become our work lives.

How to escape the ‘hyperactive hivemind’ of modern work, wherein Cal Newport talks to the BBC about why people get so caught up in the web that's work, how that's harming them, and offers some ideas about how to untangle ourselves from that web.

The Myth of Making It, wherein Soraya Roberts delves into why some people, no matter how much they earn or achieve, always seem to believe they haven't done enough, don't have enough, and want more.

The Dark Side of Technology

Data Leviathan: China’s Burgeoning Surveillance State, wherein we learn more about the surveillance technology that China is deploying in Xinjiang region (and elsewhere) to exercise social control, what that means, and about the backlash against that technology.

The Disturbing Power of Information Pollution, wherein we discover how pervasive false or distorted information on the internet (and elsewhere) is, and how it can affect us regardless of how wary and skeptical we are.

How Google Discovered the Value of Surveillance, wherein Shoshana Zuboff walks us through how Google went from being just a search engine to something bigger, scarier, more invasive, and more insidious.

Ideas

The Embodiment of Kintsugi, wherein Shir Lerman Ginzburg explains how she applies the idea underlying the Japanese way of repairing broken pottery to her academic research and her personal process of dealing with depression.

Does English Fulfill the Dream of a Universal Language?, wherein we discover that English adapts to the needs of people speaking it more than it shapes those people’s ideas or ideals.

My Prison Reading, wherein Kian Tajbakhsh recalls and recounts the books that saw him through his months in an Iranian prison, and reflects on the effects those books had on him.

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 Labour Day weekend here in New Zealand and I've been enjoying the time off. That doesn't mean I've been sitting with my feet up, drink in hand. Well, I have. But I've also been reading. See how much I care?

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

The mystery of unexplained earthquakes, wherein we enter the world of seismic detectives, get a glimpse at how they try to determine whether earthquakes are natural or caused by humans, and discover how difficult that is.

Can Learning a Foreign Language Prevent Dementia?, wherein we find out that learning a foreign language might not have some of the beneficial effects ascribed to it by some poly- and hyperglots, and that learning another tongue will just make you a better speaker of a foreign language.

The ABC of time, wherein Matt Farr introduces us to three theories of time, and focuses on one that doesn't seem to make sense in our perception of how time runs. A big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff indeed.

History

The city that launched the publishing industry, wherein we learn how medieval Venice became the publishing centre of the western world, and how some people are trying to revive the city's publishing traditions.

Brilliant Visions: Peyote among the Aesthetes, wherein Mike Jay takes a look back at early experimentation with mescaline at the turn of the 20th century, and how those who partook saw a future world of visual spectacle, equal parts scientific discovery and aesthetic delight.

The Maid Who Mapped the Heavens, wherein we discover the work of Mina Fleming, whose relatively unsung work at Harvard College Observatory in the late 19th century helped open astronomy as a career for women.

Ideas

Writing the Future With Utopias, wherein we're introduced to some classic and decidedly utopian literature, and examine how that literature nudges readers into thinking critically and more deeply about the future.

Reddit, with wigs and ink, wherein we dip into the what's new is old again file and discover that concerns about newspapers and published letters 300 years ago reflect our current worries about what appears on the internet.

On Deep Ethics, wherein we're taken on a trip into the world of deep ethics, and discover why that idea is so important to us and our survival, as well as the survival of the planet on which we live.

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.

This time 'round, another edition on a single topic. That topic? Technology. Which is fitting, seeing as how I was at a tech conference last week.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

How to support open-source software and stay sane, wherein we get a peek into the struggles that scientists and researchers have with developing and, later, maintaining the open source software that they've crafted for their work.

Networked Dream Worlds, wherein Shannon Mattern looks at the problems with, and facing, 5G broadband, and ponders whether or not we really need it.

'IBM PC Compatible': How Adversarial Interoperability Saved PCs From Monopolization, wherein we discover how a company that was something of a tech monopolist helped drive the home and business PC revolution, and how moving away from the ethos behind the PC compatible is locking us into certain technologies that many of us use every day.

Network of Blood, wherein Kelly Pendergrast ponders the problems with going wireless, and how wired connections to our hardware have informed modern film and literature.

Fast Software, the Best Software, wherein Craig Mod pens a paen to software that's speedy, snappy, and only does one or two things well.

The Hidden Costs of Automated Thinking, wherein Jonathan Zittrain explores the idea of intellectual debt and how it applies (or not) to the burgeoning field of machine learning.

Silicon Valley’s Crisis of Conscience, wherein we're taken on a tour of a former hippie retreat whose owners are, both in vain and in pursuit of a profit, trying to teach tech executives to change their focus and their ways.

Was E-mail a Mistake?, wherein Cal Newport discusses the history of email, the (exaggerated) reports of its death, and why nothing has really replaced it.

Bitcoin Dreams, wherein we learn a little more about Bitcoin and its history, as well as where it might be going, but without all the cheerleading and technowaffle.

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.

Greetings from Raleigh, NC. I'm at the 2019 edition of a conference called All Things Open. As you read this, I'll be experiencing all manners of open source goodness in the forms of talks and demos. So, what are you doing this morning?

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

The Aesthetic Beauty of Math, wherein Karen Olssen ponders how mathematics, when done well, is a form of art to the right set of eyes and the right kind of mind.

Perhaps the best dinosaur fossil ever discovered. So why has hardly anyone seen it?, wherein we learn about an amazing find of dinosaur remains on a ranch in Montana, and about both the interest it sparked among paleontologist and the legal battles the discovery of those remains ignited.

How Space Technology is Revolutionizing Archaeology, wherein we're introduced to astroarchaelogy and learn about its potential in helping us bring the answers to life, on Earth, looking down from outer space.

Travel

The Best Way to Tour a City Is Through Its Grocery Store, wherein we learn the joys of exploring foreign lands by popping into their grocery stores and discovering more than local foods, and the joys of doing that in our own countries.

The Invisible City Beneath Paris, wherein Robert Macfarlane introduces us to the world of urban explorers by taking us through his sometimes scary and claustrophobic journey below the streets of The City of Light.

The liberating experience of traveling without a smartphone, wherein we get the results of a study that show how travelling without technology can be frustrating and anxiety inducing, but also liberating and something that puts travellers more into the moment.

Odds and Ends

What Happens When Satanists Try to Build a Public Monument?, wherein we learn that in some parts, religious freedom is only free to those who practice the so-called “right” religions.

New Coke Didn’t Fail. It Was Murdered, wherein Tim Murphy chronicles what killed New Coke in 1985, and how that campaign against an update to a popular beverage stemmed from a sense of dispossession and an unwillingness to adapt to change.

Going Down the Pipes, wherein we revist the article that inspired the 1999 movie Pushing Tin, and learn about the sometimes wacky and always high-stress world of air traffic controllers in one of America's busiest air travel corridors.

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 quick note about next week's kickoff: for many of you, that edition will be coming a day late. I'll publish the kickoff on Monday, but Monday in North America. Why? I'm taking my annual trip to Raleigh, NC and that'll play a few fun games with my sense of time and location. But Monday is Monday, no matter where or when it is ...

Speaking of which, let's get this Monday started with these links:

History

The Myth of Blubber Town, an Arctic Metropolis, wherein we learn about Smeerenburg, a seventeenth century Dutch whaling station that, despite being never more than a desolate outpost, gained a legendary status among sailors, writers, and the wider public.

'A Compelling Power': When Mesmerism Came to America, wherein Max Nelson explains how, for a few years in the middle of the nineteenth century, the practice of mesmerism took hold in America and looks at some of the uses people proposed for it.

Pinkerton Spy, Feminist Icon – Meet Kate Warne, America's first female detective and spy, who thwarted an assassination plot on Lincoln, wherein we hear the story of Kate Warne who, in the mid-nineteenth century, was one of the top detectives at the legendary Pinkerton agency, and opened up an entire field to women like herself.

The Dark Side of Technology

Singapore: Laboratory of Digital Censorship, wherein we learn that Singapore's new Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act is, on the surface, well intentioned but that below the surface it's yet another tool for the governing party to control speech, criticism, and opinion.

Ghosts of the Future, wherein Julia Foote likens the so-called smart home to the settings of horror fiction and movies, and examines how there is a tangible aspect to the internet of things, even if we can’t always see it.

Americans Are Making Phone Farms to Scam Free Money From Advertisers, wherein we enter the shady world of people who use multiple cheap smartphones to tap their way to (albeit small) amounts of money by faking engagement with online content.

Crime

The Grand Schemes of the Petty Grift, wherein we enter the world of Jeremy Wilson, a small-time con artist whose dissembling was an escape from his dismal reality, but an escape that (in his head, at least) blurred into that reality.

The Rise and Fall of a New York Shock Jock, wherein we learn how the gambling addiction of New York sports radio host Craig Carton led him to scam millions, and how that resulted in his personal and professional downfall.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Defrauding Agency, wherein we learn about the exploits of Sarah Howe, a nineteenth-century scammer who ran a Ponzi scheme (long before Ponzi came on the scene) that targeted single, working American women.

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 fine mix of articles comes your way this week. Some of them on topics that I feel very strongly about. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Business and Economics

The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich, wherein we learn about the work of Gabriel Zucman, an economist working towards making the world a more (financially) egalitarian place.

Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For, wherein we read how yet another major global corporation makes huge amounts from what should be a public resource, all without giving much (if anything) back.

Why Doing Harm Is Profitable, wherein Nathan J. Robinson examines the reasons corporations are willing to, time and again, choose profit over safety, the environment, and people.

Environment

Are There Potential Downsides of Going to 100 Percent Renewable Energy?, wherein we learn that switching to renewable energy could have environmental consequences, especially around the mining of raw materials to create things like solar panels and batteries.

The California coast is disappearing under the rising sea. Our choices are grim, wherein we get a front-row seat at the Golden State's fight against an ever-encroaching ocean, an ocean that always wins.

A Dark History of the World’s Smallest Island Nation, wherein we learn how the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru went from being undeveloped to becoming relatively wealthy thanks to phosphate mining, then went to rags and worse in the aftermath of that mining.

Writing

How I Write My Books, wherein French author Anne Serre outlines the process she follows when writing, and shares the thoughts and tricks she has while doing the deed.

On Keeping a Notebook: A Reading List, wherein Jeanne Bonner shares some of her favourite articles about how and why writers use paper and pen to jot down ideas and organize their thoughts and work.

Umberto Eco's Guide to Writing a Thesis, wherein the novelist and academic offers some excellent and solid advice that can help anyone writing a thesis, or any other work of non fiction.

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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