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:

Why A4? – The Mathematical Beauty of Paper Size, wherein Ben Sparks looks at the mathematics that helped create what's become an international standard size of paper.

Secret Life of a Leftist Doomsday Prepper, wherein Kitty Stryker explains that survivalism isn't only the domain of right wingers with guns, and that leftist anarchists like her also see some wisdom in the prepper ethos.

Against August, wherein Haley Mlotek explains why she dreads the eighth month of the year, one full of mistakes and misfortune and melancholy.

Is Social Media a Threat to Democracy?, wherein we learn about some potential measures to reform social media platforms, and why those reforms may not be easy to enact.

America’s False Idols, wherein Scott Galloway argues that modern tech titans, while widely lauded and venerated, don't really deserve the plaudits or veneration that are heaped on them.

Education and Indoctrination, wherein Jeffrey Aaron Snyder looks at both, how they differ, and how arguments about education and indoctrination in schools have been raise since the 19th century.

Why Isn’t Everybody Rich Yet?, wherein Timothy Noah looks at why, in the face of John Maynard Keynes' predictions in the 1930s, prosperity isn't equally or equitably distributed in society.

How going above and beyond at work became required, wherein Megan Tatum looks at work creep, and how employees going doing more than their job description states now feels like a built-in, minimum expectation from their employer.

The Asset Economy Strikes Again, wherein Martijn Konings examines how the focus on capital gains structures the way leading economists and policymakers think about the economy, and why that's causing problems 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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

How 60 Knights Paused a War to Fight a Battle Royale Death Match, wherein we learn about a 14thcentury melee between groups of English and French knights, the reasons for which aren't really know and which had little effect on the outcome of the War of the Breton Succession (during which the battle was waged).

The Disappearing Art Of Maintenance, wherein Alex Vuocolo looks at the New York City subway system to understand why maintenance, though not glamorous or even valued, is important to public infrastructure (and more).

Why Adults Still Dream About School, wherein Kelly Conaboy examines the reasons our anxieties, especially about dealing with authority figures, manifest themselves as stressful dreams about being in school, even years after graduating.

How to nurture a personal library, wherein Freya Howarth looks at why we build our own libraries and ways in which we make those libraries a curated collection of books that reflect us, and not just a pile random of tomes.

The 'dangerous' books too powerful to read, wherein we get a look at how some books get a bad reputation (morally speaking), why and how the powers-that-be try to ban them, and at the efforts to fight those bans.

How a “Collective Madness” in 18th Century France Led to Financial Ruin and a Scheme to Lock Up Women and Ship Them Into Exile, wherein we learn how a Scotsman with radical financial ideas tried to turn around the economy of 18th century France, an attempt which (in small part) relied on forced labour.

Japan struggles to give up floppy disks and fax machines for the digital age, wherein we learn about the difficult battle Japan's latest Digital Minister faces to try to get government departments to let go of some entrenched technologies from the 1980s and move into the cloud age.

The Watch That Came In From The Cold, wherein we learn, via the long journey taken by his Rolex watch, about the fate of a civilian pilot flying missions for the CIA in the 1950s.

What Modern Humans Can Learn From Ancient Software, wherein Paul Ford argues that to understand software and how it evolved, we really need to use an emulator to run old (and I mean old) programs.

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 Real Magic of Rituals, wherein we learn how little practices that all of us have, which seem superstitious, might actually be an effective stress-management strategy.

One of Long COVID’s Worst Symptoms Is Also Its Most Misunderstood, wherein Ed Yong explores the long-term effects of the virus on the cognitive abilities of more than a few people who came down with COVID-19.

Among the Reality Entrepreneurs, wherein James Duesterberg takes us into (at least, to a certain point) the world of Urbit, an alternative to the internet that's difficult to describe but whose followers embrace the idea of derealization.

Care Tactics, wherein Laura Mauldin examines the tech sector's innovations, purported to help the disabled, and that sector's disregard for the actual concerns of disabled people.

The economy and the paradox of technology, wherein Samuel Gregg discusses the dual-edged nature of shifting manufacturing, and a chunk of the economy, to something that's more deeply rooted in technology.

Adam Smith’s Radical Tools, wherein Paul Crider argues that the ideas of the famed and reviled political economist are far more egalitarian and liberal (in the classical sense) than many have made those ideas out to be.

Free the Internet, wherein Sarah Leonard argues for taking the web back to something resembling its roots, a time when the online world wasn't under the thumbs of various corporations and private interests.

Don’t Trash Your Old Phone—Give It a Second Life, wherein Kaitlyn Tiffany looks at ways to repurpose older technology instead of recycling it, even though the choices are limited and complicated.

The surprising history of how electric vehicles have played the long game and won, wherein we learn about the long road, paved with many failures, that EVs have taken over the last century and a bit, and what led them to finally become mainstream.

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 2023. Here's hoping that it turns out to be the year that we all wanted 2022 to have been.

Let's get this Monday (and this year) started with these links:

Word Is Bond, wherein Peter Mommsen argues that by making a vow, we're giving up our future freedom but that doing so can also have its upsides.

How It Feels To Chase a Tornado Across Three States, wherein Matthew Cappucci recounts an evening of tracking, and being assaulted by, tornado-producing storms in rural Texas.

Your Career Is Just One-Eighth of Your Life, wherein Derek Thompson shares some marginally useful career advice, but advice which is more useful than most of the advice that we might receive.

What’s Wrong with Technocracy?, wherein Matthew Cole examines the concept of technocracy, arguments for and against it, and the differences between technocracy and smart democracy.

How Kevins Got a Bad Rap in France, wherein Lauren Collins looks at how a once-popular name for French males came to be associated with the image of an uncultivated, vulgar, narrow-minded and phallocratic man.

Creating a More Spacious Life , wherein Leo Babauta offers some advice to help you change how you experience life.

What You Need to Build a Greek Temple, wherein Edmund Stewart outlines the material and human resources (both considerable) for such a large construction project in the ancient world.

All is not vanity, wherein Noga Arikha ponders memories and sentimentalism in the digital age, and about what we choose and choose not to hold on to.

The Digital Soldiers Taking America’s Forever Wars Online, wherein Andy Kroll takes us into the world of people who spread disinformation and conspiracy theories online, and how their Internet-fueled fantasies ... could have grave consequences in the actual 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.

What do you know? Another year is about to shut its doors. We've still got a few more days left in 2022, though. If you celebrate the Silly Season, I hope it's going well for you. If you don't, I hope that at least you've been able to take some time off to relax.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

The Quest for Fusion Energy, wherein Daniel Jassby argues that even with the advances in technology and science around fusion energy, practical and viable fusion reactors may never come to be.

A Good Memory or a Bad One? One Brain Molecule Decides, wherein we learn about the actual mechanism out brains use to lock in experiences as good or bad memories, depending on our emotional state at the time those memories are formed.

Remembering When America Banned Sliced Bread, wherein we learn about the short-lived World War Two rationing measure that was implemented to save waxed paper and the steel used to make bread slicers, as well as the backlash that resulted.

The Collectors Who Save Video-Game History from Oblivion, wherein we discover the efforts of a group of people deeply fascinated by older games who are trying to preserve those games and to chronicle their history.

We Living Things Are an Accident of Space and Time, wherein Alan Lightman argues that our existence, and our universe itself, is simply an accident, one throw of the cosmic dice.

Of War and Electric Death: A Brief History of Push-Button Anxiety, wherein Rachel Plotnick looks at the fears people once had of buttons, specifically ones that they imagined offered calculated control to create or destroy.

I Went to Trash School, wherein we follow Clio Chang on the training course for New York City sanitation workers, and learn the intricacies of a job most people don't think about.

Fair Game, wherein David Golumbia looks at the uses, abuses, and dangers of, and ethical considerations around web scraping.

Masters of Crowds: The Rise of Mass Social Engineering, wherein Robert Gehl and Sean Lawson examine the rise of social engineering in the early 20TH century, the problems it purported to solve, and the problems that the discipline caused.

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:

What the Vai Script Reveals About the Evolution of Writing, wherein we learn about how, in the 1830s, a group of people developed a written script for their language, and learn a bit about how writing systems can develop.

Are All Brains Good at Math?, wherein Elizabeth Landau examines our inherent ability to understand math, even at a basic level, and why so many people (mainly in the West) consider themselves bad at math. Yes, I'm one of those people ...

Highway to Hell, wherein Julian Moss looks at why the car-dominated model of urban transport is unsustainable, and looks at some alternatives.

What It Means to Wander, wherein we're introduced to different ways of walking and exploring our environments, ones removed from typical literary and essayistic chronicles.

Fight Inflation With Surplus, Not Scarcity, wherein Nina Eichacker and Jason Oakes offer a model that they insist can make the economy more resilient, now and in the future.

The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse, wherein Douglas Rushkoff looks at how a small group of men (and it's mostly men) with too much wealth and power are searching for a means of escape from the apocalypse of their own making.

Dystopia for Realists, wherein Lizzie O'Shea looks at how automated decision-making systems already influence millions of people’s lives every day and discusses how we can push back against those systems.

What Canada’s Largest Art Heist Reveals about the Art World’s Shady Side, wherein we learn about the robbery of a Montreal museum in the early 1970s, how it was forgotten, and partly because of a lack of both a good narrative around the theft and of public outrage.

How Secure Is Our Data, Really?, wherein Michael Kende looks at why online security failures occur, and at the three potential market failures behind them which require third-party solutions to sort out.

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:

What is longtermism?, wherein William MacAskill explains why short-term thinking is dangerous to us as a species, and why we should embrace the opposite.

Scammers Are Scamming Other Scammers Out of Millions of Dollars, wherein we dip into the there's no honour among thieves files and hear sad tales of online con people being conned themselves, and how they actually don't like it.

The Death Cheaters, wherein we're taken into the world of a small group in a Toronto, Canada suburb and their attempts to use various techniques and technologies to prolong their lives (at $100,000 per person).

Ode to the Library Museum, wherein we're introduced to the simultaneous preciousness and precariousness of ancient books, and to the effort required to preserve them.

Buckminster Fuller’s Greatest Invention, wherein we learn that a lot of what we thought about the architect and theorist is either incomplete or incorrect, and that (unsurprisingly) much of his image was cultivated via self promotion and self belief.

The Technocrat’s Dilemma, wherein Alexander Stern examines how science gets used to legitimize policies guided by political interests.

Just how important is eye contact between musicians? And what does it signal?, wherein we learn a bit about how conductors use eye contact to communicate with members and sections of an orchestra, and about the importance of eye contact between musicians.

How to buy U.S. dollars in Beirut, wherein we get a glimpse into the (nominally illegal) markets for foreign currency that people in Lebanon routinely use, markets that are helping keep the economy afloat.

The Kilogram, wherein Jeremy Bernstein explores how the unit of measuring mass was determined, and what happened to the standard kilogram.

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:

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

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