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.

And we're back! Great to see you all again after that enforced break seven days ago. Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Technology

Digging your own digital grave: how should you manage the data you leave behind?, wherein we learn how important it is to secure our privacy online not just for now but for after our deaths.

Imagine There's No Drivers, wherein Jim Motavalli muses about the future of autonomous vehicles and how they might reshape life in cities.

What Was BeOS, and Why Did People Love It?, wherein we learn about an operating system from the 1990s that could have rivalled Windows and MacOS, and why it didn't.

Business and Economics

The Second Career of Michael Riegels, wherein we learn about the English barrister who helped turn the British Virgin Islands into a tax haven and learn about the consequences of doing that.

How young workers are changing the rules of 'business speak', wherein we see how older and younger employees need to work together to find a middle ground in the way in which they communicate in the workplace.

Startup “Cults”, wherein Adam Willems argues that using the term cult to describe tech firms is both innacurate and only offers a fleeting, holier-than-thou catharsis to those who utter it.

Odds and Ends

The Man Who Found Forrest Fenn's Treasure, wherein we learn how a young medical student cracked the code leading to the location of an art dealer's buried treasure, and about the hell that broke loose because of that find.

If Proust Ate Pringles — On Memory, Loss, and the Persistence of Heineken, wherein Eoghan Walsh has a Proustian moment of involuntary memory recall about this childhood, and realizes how his experiences of parenting and my work around beer are connected.

A Longing for the Lost Landline, wherein Roger Cohen pens a paen to a time when we weren't, and weren't expected to be, constantly connected.

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 won't be an edition of the Monday Kickoff next week. I'm staring down the barrels of several deadlines and won't have time to prepare a new edition. Check this space on March 8.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Arts and Literature

Interpreting America at the Minsk Book Fair, wherein travel writer Doug Mack discusses his time in the Belarusian capital, at the behest of the U.S. Department of State, and his attempts to understand the country while trying to explain America to the locals while explaining the struggles of being a travel writer.

Why I Write Novels, wherein Amit Chaudhuri looks at his own work and ponders the thin line between fiction influenced by one's life and memoir.

The Politics of Thrilers, wherein Praveen Tummalapalli looks at the popularity of spy novels and how they can be a powerful tool to spread political messages.

Online Life

How SEO is Gentrifying the Internet, wherein Nick Slater (rightly so) rails against search engine optimization, and how it's letting the World Wide Web turn into a glum, soulless suburb filled with content rather than useful information.

The Organic Myth, wherein Dr. Elinor Carmi argues that the online feeds we consume on a daily basis are more engineered than organic, regardless of what we're told.

This used to be our playground, wherein Simon Collison remembers a web where true creativity bloomed, but which is now rarely a sandbox for us to climb into and make mad shit.

Ideas

Recognise the creativity behind crime, then you can thwart it, wherein David Cropley looks at how creativity can be used for ends good and bad, and how to recognize negative creativity.

Towards a Cultural History of Plexiglass, wherein Shannon Mattern explores how the almost ubiquitous acrylic morphed from being a wonder material to becoming a form of separation and control.

The lost art of having a chat: what happened when I stopped texting and started talking, wherein Rebecca Nicholson decided to use her phone to talk rather than to text or DM to see if it would change my relationships, particularly the ones I had grown lazy about maintaining.

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

Death of a Smart City, wherein we learn how a Google-backed project to create an overly-networked neighbourhood in Toronto scuttled by its opponents, and (in some small way) from within.

The 100-Year History of Self-Driving Cars, wherein we learn that the idea behind self-driving cars is nothing new, and how the mistakes of the past are informing the creation of tomorrow's autonomous vehicles.

Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing, wherein Jesse Frederik looks at blockchain, the technology and people behind it, and the proposed applications for it, and comes away unimpressed.

Writing

Many writers say they can actually hear the voices of their characters – here's why, wherein we learn how inner speech in the minds of fiction writers becomes the voices of the characters they've created.

Notes on Notes, wherein Mary Cappello ponders the ideas of notes and note taking, and how they're minor literary forms in themselves.

Substack isn't a new model for journalism – it’s a very old one, wherein once again we dip into the what's new is old again files and learn that the popular email newsletter service has several historical precedents.

Productivity

Time Is Not a Measure of Productivity, wherein Anne-Laure Le Cunff looks at remote work versus being in the office and concludes working from home will result in more impactful work and happier work conditions.

How To Do The Thing You're Avoiding, wherein Leo Babauta offers some advice to help you tackle the tasks that you don't want to tackle.

How to take notes while reading a book, wherein Anne-Laure Le Cunff offers advice on how to do that without going overboard or losing the joy and flow of reading.

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:

Business and Economics

Why Can’t I Fix My Own Phone, Toaster, or Tractor?, wherein Jon Keegan looks at why device manufacturers don't want people repairing the gear that they nominally own, and concludes that manufacturers look at the service phase of the device life as a huge profit center.

Uber made big promises in Kenya. Drivers say it's ruined their lives, wherein we learn how the ride sharing platform's ruthless and capricious business model is causing hardship for unwitting drivers in the African nation.

China’s Radical New Vision Of Globalization, wherein we learn about Beijing's dual circulation economic strategy which is, despite what China's leaders say, is a departure from the country's previous moves.

The Dark Side of Technology

‘Like Being Grilled Alive’: the Fear of Living With a Hackable Heart, wherein ... explores the wonders and the dangers of connected medical devices, especially ones implanted in our bodies.

The Zoom Gaze, wherein Autumm Caines looks at videoconferencing and concludes that it makes us more conscious of how visibility is mediated by technologies.

The Xinjiang Data Police, wherein we learn how and why the Chinese government hired and trained close to 100,000 people in predominantly Muslim areas of the country to digitally spy and report on their fellows.

Odds and Ends

Fungi, Folklore, and Fairyland, wherein Mike Jay looks at the recorded history of psychedelic mushrooms in Britain and how they could have been the fuel for the nation's fairy mythology.

Engels — the communist as hedonist, wherein we learn about the conflicting sides of the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, which he seemed to effortlessly shift between.

The veteran spy plane too valuable to replace, wherein we learn how the U2, first designed and built in the 1950s, has survived and is still relevant today.

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.

On the first week back at The Day JobTM post Christmas, a co-worker idly commented that January was almost half over. She wasn't kidding. Now, here we are in February. A fresh month, and something of a fresh start.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Space

Mars Is a Second-Rate Backup Plan, wherein Caleb Scharf argues that colonizing the solar system's fourth planet might not be the secure existential hedge-fund that some visionaries make it out to be.

An Atlas of the Cosmos, wherein we're taken on a tour of the astronomical project trying to piece together the most complete map yet of the universe and to try to uncover some fundamental truths about the universe.

The Eternal Silence of Infinite Space, wherein Bryan Appleyard examines our fascination with trying to discover extraterrestrial life and how close we may be to finding signs of it.

Environment

130 Degrees, wherein Bill McKibben looks at whether or not humans can survive climate change, and comes to a sobering conclusion about that.

Shifting Baselines, wherein Callum Roberts takes us on a tour of some large swathes of coral reef and looks at what climate change is doing to those reefs and the effect that has on the rest of the world.

Fossil Fuels and the American Way of Death, wherein David Lapp Jost looks at the various ways, some not all that obvious, in which the fossil fuel industry is harming and killing us.

History

Lord of Misrule: Thomas Morton’s American Subversions, wherein we learn about Merrymount, a little-known early American colony that bore witness to a strange and beautiful alternative dream of what America could have been.

Pez article, wherein we learn how the beloved candy tablets came about, mainly because Americans weren't interested in quitting smoking.

'Stores the Road Passes Through': The Drive-In Markets of the 1920s, wherein we learn about the development of Ye Market Place, an early shopping centre in Glendale, California, that became the template for others to come.

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:

Arts and Literature

Why Goodreads is Bad for Books, wherein we learn how the book recommendation site, which started as a path to more diverse reading, is collapsing under its own weight.

An Obscure Road to Hollywood, wherein we discover that the image of the exploited, downtrodden writer in Hollywood of the 30s and 40s is more subtle and nuanced than we've been led to believe.

Nairobi Rising, wherein Nanjala Nyabola reflects on Kenya's main city, on what it is, what it's become, and how the city's writers are digging out from under decades of government censorship..

History

The True Story of Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore, wherein Haonan Li and Victor Yaw look at some of the history if Singapore's modern rise that aren't widely taught or reported on.

The world’s most unlikely spy, wherein we learn about Virginia Hall, one of the most feared Allied spies in World War Two Europe who set up and ran spy networks, and who escaped the Nazis by trekking across the Pyrenees on a prosthetic leg.

Informatics of the Oppressed, wherein we learn how information technology had an impact on libraries in post-revolutionary Cuba and on academe and dissent elsewhere in Latin America.

Ideas

What If Technology Belonged to the People?, wherein Edward Ongweso Jr. ponders whether we can design a better system to replace a predatory and increasingly creepy system of digital capitalism.

What is a minimally good life and are you prepared to live it?, wherein Jill Lawson examines what people can justifiably aspire to as a matter of basic right.

Perfect Harmony, wherein we learn about Solfeggio frequencies and how they're a symptom of the current embrace of pseudoscience among some people.

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 week, a set of links on a single topic. That topic? The darker side of technology.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

The internet is an angry and capricious god, wherein we learn more about the hollowness of online rage and punishment.

Bot or Not, wherein Brian Justie looks at RECAPTCHA and its relationship to malevolent bots on the internet.

The Cold War Bunker That Became Home to a Dark-Web Empire, wherein we learn how a Dutch internet entrepreneur turned a military installation into a hub for illegal online activity.

When coffee makers are demanding a ransom, you know IoT is screwed, wherein we get another reason why I don't drink coffee and a demonstration of why we should perhaps consider not making all of our devices and appliances smart.

The Bias in the Machine, wherein we learn how facial recognition system work, and why they so often get it wrong when it comes to gender, age, and ethnicity.

Toxic Internet Culture From East To West, wherein Brett Fujioka examines the origins of, and parallels between, modern online extremism in Japan and the U.S.

Stranger Than Fiction, wherein we learn how an aspiring poet started writing political “news” for The Epoch Times and unwittingly became part of a misinformation machine.

Subscriber City, wherein David A. Banks examines the apps we use in everyday life and how they, and the companies behind them, may ultimately come to administer our access to everything we associate with the freedom of urban life.

How the Awful Stuff Won, wherein Tom Scocca examines how negativity, extremism, lies, and hatred came to dominant the internet in recent 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.

This week, a mix of nine interesting reads that don't fit into any single topic. That doesn't mean they're not worth diving into, though. So what are you waiting for?

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Loving the Alien, wherein Stephen Rodrick dives into the wacky UFO subculture and shows us how fervent the believers really are.

The Privileged Have Entered Their Escape Pods, wherein Douglas Rushkoff talks about how, thanks to COVID-19, escapist and survivalist fantasies are becoming a reality for people with the means to step away.

The forgotten history of how automakers invented the crime of “jaywalking”, wherein we learn how big business helped turn the streets into the domain of the car, to the detriment of pedestrians.

The companies that help people disappear, wherein we learn about why some people in Japan abandon their lives and about the firms that help make the process of vanishing easier.

My Dad, the Globetrotting Businessman, Paleographer...and Spy?, wherein Julia Métraux delves into the stories her father told her as a child and discovers that there's even more to him than she thought but not quite as much as she imagined.

The cheap pen that changed writing forever. wherein Stephen Dowling explores the history and development of the ballpoint pen and how it became the ubiquitous writing instrument.

This 'Modern' Invention Is Really 1,000 Years Old, Researchers Discover, wherein we dip into the what's new is old again files and learn that the process to create chromium steel was first used in Iran over 900 years ago.

People Are Discovering the Joy of Actually Talking on a Phone, wherein we learn that thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are opting to connect with close contacts via phone than by digital means.

The intriguing maps that reveal alternate histories, wherein Samuel Arbesman explores *imagined cartographies** and how they point to worlds that might have been.

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.

And welcome to a new year. After the horrors and trials and tribulations of 2020, here's to this year being a bit more stable and sane.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Online Life

What is the Small Web?, wherein Aral Balkan introduces us to the idea of taking control of our own data and privacy by building our own websites and web apps, and hosting them ourselves.

Is Social Media Good For Anything At All?, wherein Zach Baron talks to digital contrarian Jaron Lanier about the ills of social media and where social media could be leading us.

The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free, wherein Nathan J. Robinson muses about access to information, and looks at the flaws in both the free access and paywall systems.

Work

Work Hard and Get Rich (Or More Likely, Die Trying), wherein Allegra Silcox explores the idea that the poor are poor because they're lazy, and discovers that there isn't much truth to support that idea.

Digital Piecework, wherein we learn that the touted flexibility of modern gig work is a sham, and that gig workers are doing a lot of unpaid work that benefits someone else.

How self-control can actually unleash your dark side, wherein we learn why model citizens sometimes turn toxic and about the implications of that on the workplace and wider life.

Productivity

Showing Up Even When You’re Not Feeling It, wherein Leo Babauta shares a simple formula for those days when you just can't focus.

From productivity porn to mindful productivity, wherein Anne-Laure Le Cunff explain something I've been saying for years: too many people are too busy trying to organize themselves rather than get things done.

Note-taking by hand: A powerful tool to support memory, wherein Hetty Roessingh explores the positive physical and mental aspects of taking notes using pen and paper

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 this is the last week of 2020. I don't have to tell you what a weird, wild, and downright strange ride it's been. Like many of you, I'll be happy to see the back of 2020. Let's hope that 2021 is a better year.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Ideas

Real experts know what they don’t know and we should value it, wherein we learn why true expertise is hard to come by an](d why the voices of so-called pundits and charlatans are heard so clearly.

How Pseudoscientists Get Away With It, wherein we learn how scientific fraudsters use science (which they often scorn) to gain your confidence and then distort the facts for their own purposes.

Cooking from Memory, wherein Barclay Bram explores the idea of culinary memory, which can taint our later experiences with the food we love or discover.

Business

Number Fever: The Pepsi Contest That Became a Deadly Fiasco, wherein we learn how a marketing campaign in the 1990s went wrong, and which is still the cause for simmering resentment to this day.

Why we should be wary of our loud, overconfident colleagues, wherein John Oswald looks at why people in business settings who are the most assertive aren't always the most competent.

How Amazon hid its safety crisis, wherein we learn that what the ecommerce giant tells the world about its safety record at its warehouses is a sham, and that injuries and accidents have actually increased.

Crime

The Pretender, wherein we learn how one half of a nice, normal couple harboured a gambling addiction which compelled her to steal and, eventually, drove her commit multiple murder.

Last Call for Gumshoes, wherein Phil Bronstein waxes nostalgic about the San Francisco private investigators of old, and how they might be a dying breed.

The FBI Team Sent to ‘Exploit’ Protesters’ Phones in Portland, wherein we're seemingly transported back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover and learn about the modern ways the Bureau keeps tabs on those on the left wing.

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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