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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Osaka: A City of Experience and Exploration, wherein Ben Cooke takes us on a tour of one of my favourite Japanese cities and shows us a few different sides of the country's old commercial centre.

Remembering the World War II Frogmen Who Trained in Secret off the California Coast, wherein we learn a bit about the OSS's naval commandos from World War 2, who acquired and practiced their deadly skills on Catalina Island.

Anna Quindlen on the Power of Writing by Hand, wherein we explore why some writers, even ones with technology at their fingertips, draft their work the analog way, learn a bit about why that works for them.

The Burglaries Were Never the Story, wherein Andrew Elrod argues that Watergate was nothing less than the visible manifestation of a hypogeal realignment, and explains why.

Panic at the Library, wherein we learn a bit about the programs to fumigate American libraries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to try to control both vermin and disease.

The Obsessive Pleasures of Mechanical-Keyboard Tinkerers, wherein we're taken into the world of hardcore computer keyboard enthusiasts, people who shell out a lot of money to try to find the perfect typing peripheral and the perfect keys to go along with it.

In Praise of Bewilderment, wherein Alan Levinovitz explains how he uses uncertainty and ambiguity when teaching, and why we should try to embrace both when we try to understand the modern world.

Running and the Science of Mental Toughness, wherein we're introduced to the deeper psychological aspects of long-distance running (and sports in general), a side to the sport that might have more importance than anyone previously considered.

How to shut down the internet – and how to fight back, wherein we get a glimpse at how government can (and do) block online access to the rest of the world, and about a few ways around 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.

It's hard to believe that this is the last Kickoff for November. And that 2022 is rapidly coming to an end. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see this year fade into the rear view mirror.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

A Remedy for FOMO, wherein Jeanne Proust looks at why people fear missing out (FOMO), and explains that to combat FOMO we need to change our perception of what time and free will really are.

Using, wherein Anselm McGovern looks at why we are drawn to the pseudo-pleasure of digital culture, and how that attraction has been around before the dawn of the World Wide Web.

Capitalism—Not a Few Bad Actors—Destroyed the Internet, wherein Matthew Crain argues that the growth and prevalence of surveillance advertising on the web is a result of a long series of both public policy decisions and the power of the advertising industry, decisions that have made the online world worse not better.

Mike Rothschild on the Ongoing Influence of QAnon and Its Self-Made Mythologies, wherein the author examines why groups which embrace outlandish conspiracy theories can thrive in so-called enlightened times, and sometimes can expand beyond a small base.

Thatcher’s War on the Internet, wherein Lola Brittain argues that the Conservative party's neoliberal industrial and privatization policies in the 1980s led to higher prices and lower speeds for telecommunication services in today's UK.

When Private Equity Takes Over a Nursing Home, wherein we learn, yet again, how corporations put profits before people despite all of the talk about the free market providing better and more efficient services.

The Twisted Life of Clippy, wherein we learn about the genesis of one of the original desktop chatbots, why it was reviled, and why Microsoft is pushing it back in front of the eyes of Windows users.

Quitting single-use plastic in Japan, wherein Melinda Joe explores Japan's obsession with plastic packaging, especially with food, and how the country is trying to further curb its use of plastic.

The Revival of Stoicism, wherein we learn how a (misunderstood) philosophy, propounded by writers like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, has become all the rage in some circles and how its new popularity often misses the point of what its originators intended.

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 Collaboration, wherein Margarita Leib explores collaborative dishonesty and how teams can avoid unethical behaviour when working together.

Alexander Helphand — impresario of revolutionary disaster who smoothed Lenin's return to Russia, wherein we learn about the forgotten late 19th/early 20th would-be revolutionary, a socialist who made and spent several fortunes yet was only a footnote in the one revolution he helped foment.

Without a Rosetta Stone, can linguists decipher Minoan script?, wherein Ester Salgarella looks at how close we are to finally deciphering an ancient script, and the difficulty of completing that task without the help of bilingual text.

Heartlands: Dipping into the retro riverside of Tamagawa, wherein Tokyo resident Rebecca Saunders takes us on a tour of some of the sights and attractions of a riverside community a short distance away from the city's centre.

How the Physics of Nothing Underlies Everything, wherein we learn about the different types of vacuums (from the perspective of physics), and how understanding those vacuums might help scientists better understand the universe.

Why You Keep Doing Productivity Systems That Don’t Work, wherein Dan Shipper looks at what he calls Productivity White Whales and outlines some strategies to avoid or beat them.

“A Great Ox Stands on my Tongue”: the Pitfalls of Latin Translation, wherein Jaspreet Singh Boparai examines the difficulties in translating not just a dead language like Latin, but living languages as well.

How To Write History While It’s Happening: Lessons From Tacitus, wherein Richard Cohen looks at how the writing of the Roman author developed, and at how he chose to chronicle the events of his time.

How mindfulness can make you a darker person, wherein we learn that there are negative outcomes to the popular form of meditation, ones that bring out some of our worst character traits and drives.

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:

Art Is for Seeing Evil. wherein Agnes Callard explains why she assigns a collection of classic novels to her philosophy students: to highlight what's crucial to understanding death, or self-creation, or courage, or self-consciousness.

Why overthinkers struggle with remote work, wherein we learn that it's all wrapped up in their tendency to obsessively worry about things that could go wrong.

Our Friend the Atom, wherein Becky Alexis-Martin explores how Atomic Age symbolism worked its way into all aspects of life after World War Two, all the while masking the dangers of our use of the atom.

Sumo Is Getting Big in Texas, wherein we learn why and how the Japanese sport is gaining a following in the Lone Star state — not just among people who watch bouts, but also people taking up the practice of sumo.

The Crypto Geniuses Who Vaporized a Trillion Dollars, wherein we learn about the origins of Three Arrows Capital and about its two founders, who thought they'd take the financial world by storm but instead helped trigger a crypto crash.

How to tackle 'wasted-time worry' – and why we need to, wherein Madeleine Dore looks at why people stress about not using time efficiently, and why even with all of the productivity techniques and advice and apps at our disposal we end up wasting our time worrying.

Another Path to Intelligence, wherein we learn more about the decentralized brain of the octopus, and how those sea creatures might rival that of creatures with single brains, like humans.

Daydreaming and Concentration: What the Science Says, wherein cognitive psychologist Stefan Van der Stigchel examines the good and the bad of letting your mind wander, both for our mental health and our performance and productivity.

The language that doesn't use 'no', wherein we learn about a language from Nepal called Kusunda which has a number of quirks but which also is on the cusp of dying.

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:

Why are there continent-sized 'blobs' in the deep Earth?, wherein we learn about the world far beneath our feet, which the notions of physical work don't work at those depths, a world which we also can't see.

Handy Mnemonics: The Five-Fingered Memory Machine, wherein we learn how, for centuries, people used their fingers and hands as devices to help them remember facts (and more).

Someone Else’s Language, wherein Kate Viera explores what happens when you embrace a foreign tongue and how it changes not only your perceptions but your fundamental self.

The Teenage Prank That’s Lasted 60 Years. wherein Clay Jennings Desmond recounts how an attempt to rattle a friend one night spiraled out of control, becoming a long-lasting story of a dangerous creature on the hunt on the outskirts of the small town in which he grew up.

Latin Lives, wherein Anthony Grafton looks at the resurgence in interest in the dead language in the humanities, especially among undergraduates and graduate students, and how that just might be transforming the study of humanities.

Dark horses in the cosmos, wherein Briley Lewis examines the theory that black holes existed at the start of the universe and may hold the solution to dark matter.

Toronto wants to kill the smart city forever, wherein we learn how Canada's largest city is trying to move away from Sidewalk Labs' vision for a smart waterfront neighbourhood, instead opting for a sustainable and off-grid neighbourhood of the future.

Boost your productivity: Cripple your technology, wherein we get some simple advice about how to beat distractions, and none of that advice involves using apps.

Why everyone should be ‘quiet quitting’, wherein Stephen Daisley argues that more people should do their jobs and no more, rather than going above and beyond for their employers without much hope for advancement.

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:

To catch a rare-book thief, wherein we descend into the world or antiquarian book theft and get a glimpse at why people steal old books, how they do it, and what libraries and collectors are trying to do to stop it.

The (Literally) Unbelievable Story of the Original Fake News Network, wherein we learn about the false and implausible radio broadcasts, engineered by the CIA, that wiped out democracy in Guatemala in the 1950s.

A Messiah Won’t Save Us, wherein Jonathan Blake examines why it's wrong to assume that a person or scientific breakthrough that will relieve us of the problems facing the planet, and how that that thinking blocks us from solving those problems.

The lost nuclear bombs that no one can find, wherein we learn about three American weapons that vanished after mid-air mishaps, why they didn't go off, and what's been done to try to retrieve them over the years.

The productivity tax you pay for context switching, wherein we learn about the toll that distraction and constantly shifting between tasks takes on our work and our focus, and are introduced to some strategies to get around that.

The Weird, Dangerous, Isolated Life of the Saturation Diver, wherein we get a look into the world of deep sea workers, who must live and work at depth for extended periods in perfectly-balanced yet precarious conditions.

Why Write?, wherein Elisa Gabbert explains the reasons several well-known fiction authors put pen to paper, and why she does.

Information Could Be the 5th State of Matter, Proving We Live in a Simulation, wherein we're introduced to the work of a physicist who's trying to prove that information has a physical presence, and to the potential consequences if that's true.

Could Google’s Carbon Emissions Have Effectively Doubled Overnight?, wherein Bill McKibben examines a report that concludes technology (and other types of) companies with vast amounts of money in the bank are accelerating climate change by indirectly funding carbon-producing industries.

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 in this part of the world, which means a long weekend. I could get used to this ...

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

How to Embrace Doing Nothing, wherein Arthur C. Brooks looks at how difficult it can be to put your feet up, at the value of leisure as opposed to rest, and why learning to do nothing is good for us.

The ejector seats that fire through the floor, wherein we learn a bit about the history of pilots being able to abandon military aircraft in mid flight, and how engineers had to come up with some radical solutions to help crew safely exit stricken jet craft.

What We Gain from a Good Bookstore, wherein Max Norman argues that bookstores are more than just physical spaces for buying dead-tree tomes, but are places of discovery (in many forms).

The Story Of Neil McCauley And The Real Heist That Inspired Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’, wherein we learn a bit about the career, mindset, and eventual downfall of the consummate real-life criminal immortalized in the 1990s heist classic.

Long Live Participatory Socialism!, wherein Thomas Piketty details his ideas around reducing or eliminating inequalities by changing the legal, fiscal and social systems of individual countries.

Could learning algebra in my 60s make me smarter?, wherein writer (and confessed math-phobe) Alex Wilkinson recounts how his struggles to try to learn some basic mathematics and what he learned not only about math but also about himself.

The yodeler who sued Yahoo, wherein we learn about Wylie Gustafson, the singer behind the search company's distinctive yodel, and his struggle to get payment for those iconic three seconds after Yahoo! used his vocal in ways that was contrary to their original deal.

The Garbage Dumps of Mars, wherein Caleb Scharf looks at another downside of living on the Red Planet: all the waste that colonists will generate, and what will happen to it.

Tripping the Late Capitalist Sublime, wherein Jason Blair explores how corporations co-opt art and culture to keep us consuming and, in some ways, under their thumbs.

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.

Starting this week, I'm going to be tweaking the format of the Monday Kickoff a bit. Lately, my reading has been all over the place and it's been a bit more difficult to combine what's passed in front of my eyes in to convenient categories. So, I'm going to try to do away with the categories. Please let me know how that works for you.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Marilyn the Poet, wherein Eliza Gonzales takes us into the poetry that Marilyn Monroe wrote, which depicts a mind searching for answers as it enacts the process of inquiry.

How our brains cope with speaking more than one language, wherein we learn a bit about the neuroscience behind how people who speak multiple tongues switch between them, and the problems that they can encounter when doing so.

Firsts in space, wherein Artemy M. Kalinovsky looks at the absurdity inherent in and surrounding some of the achievements in the space race over the decades.

Never-Ending Story, wherein Grant Farred explores what it means to be a self-described technophobe in a world in which the younger generation is (blindly, it sometimes seems) uncritically embracing technology.

The people of the cloud, wherein we learn about the folks who keep other peoples' computers (and their supporting infrastructure) running, the same other peoples' computers most of us rely on for just about everything we do online.

Citizen future: Why we need a new story of self and society, wherein Jon Alexander and Ariane Conrad introduce us to the titular idea, at the core of which is an effort to bring us all together instead of driving us apart as the current capitalist and consumerist culture tries to do.

The Resurgence Of Tesla Syndrome, wherein Iwan Rhys Morus examines why the idea of disruption is valued so highly in the business and tech worlds nowadays.

‘He’s sabotaged his entire life for greed’: the $86m rise and fall of Inigo Philbrick, wherein we learn how a charismatic young art dealer created what was essentially an art Ponzi scheme, and what led to his downfall.

Bicycle graveyards: why do so many bikes end up underwater?, wherein Jody Rosen looks at why and how a large number of bicycles find their way into urban waterways each year.

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

How to Successfully Smash Your Face Against a Tree, wherein we're taken into research that shows woodpeckers don't absorb shocks with their skulls (as so many people believe), but have evolved a more complete physiology that enables them to withstand the shocks of pecking.

Is the Age of Fusion Upon Us?, wherein Khaled Talaat explores the broad landscape of fusion energy development, why viable fusion is so elusive, and whether or not we'll see a fusion generator in action anytime soon.

The secret world beneath our feet is mind-blowing – and the key to our planet’s future, wherein George Monbiot takes us into the diversity of life in our soil, a microcosm of species that we don't know or understand but which keeps us alive.

Productivity

How to Tackle a Mountain of Tasks, wherein Leo Babauta offers some simple, solid advice about how to do just that.

How to find, read and organize papers, wherein Maya Gosztyla explains how she manages the deluge of academic reading and research she does, advice that you can apply any reading and research.

Do I Have Productivity Dysmorphia?, wherein we learn about people who jump on to the productivity treadmill and yet either aren't satisfied with what they've done or just keep doing things because they don't feel like they're doing enough.

Ideas

Keeping Time Into The Great Beyond, wherein Vincent Ialenti tries to make sense of the Clock of the Long Now, and whether or not it's a worthwhile project or a bit of techno-hippyism.

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.

Deep Time Sickness, wherein Lachlan Summers introduces us to the tocado of Mexico City and, through them, ponders the idea of deep time and how it effects 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 time around, nine reads that don't really fit into any single category but which I think you'll enjoy.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

How to Buy a New Mattress Without a Ph.D. in Chemistry, wherein Patricia Marx looks at modern mattresses and how something as seemingly simple as buying one has become more complex and confusing (and expensive) than it needs to be.

On Marble, wherein Rachel Cush looks at the fabled material and ponders how it can be the symbol and medium for the artist, the dictator, and the exploiter.

My Poison Snake: Erika Kobayashi on Growing Up in a Household of Sherlock Translators, wherein the Japanese novelist recalls her very un-Japanese formative years, when her family home was turned into a shrine of sorts to the fictional detective while her parents translated Sherlock Holmes stories into Japanese.

Love Song to Costco, wherein Yuxi Lin explains how visits to the wholesale giant with her family shaped her early days in the US, and how that helped frame her relationship with her parents.

What Lurks Inside Shipping Containers, wherein we learn about the toxic gases that are pumped into some shipping containers, the lack of warning that regularly accompanies that, and about the dangers of even traces of those gases for dockworkers.

‘Mad’ Mike Hughes’ Last Ride: Inside a Flat-Earther’s Doomed Mission, wherein author Kelly Weill explores the seeming death wishes of some proponents of so-called Flat Earth theory, who intend to risk life and limb to prove that our planet isn't a sphere.

Shanghai Shelf Life, wherein Mimi Jiang takes us through the immediate aftermath of the city's 2022 lockdown and how it has affected not just individuals but certain small businesses.

Another Patagonia, wherein Louis Rogers retraces Bruce Chatwin's journey to the South American region and recounts discovering the tension with your own personal geography.

The Japanese Salaryman Who Quit His Job with Nothing but a Handpan, wherein we learn why former architect Kashiwa Hang, and why he left his career behind to play an obscure musical instrument professionally.

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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