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:

Crime

Enter the Dragnet, wherein Sarah Brayne looks at how law enforcement is hoovering up and using even non-criminal data and ponders the wider-ranging implications of that.

How German Librarians Finally Caught an Elusive Book Thief, wherein we learn about Norbert Schild, a cunning, enterprising, and meticulous thief who expertly cut maps from antique tomes (often under the noses of librarians), and how he was eventually caught.

Death of a (Really Good) Salesman, wherein we learn about the rise and fall of a one-time corporate superstar, his turn to robbery to hold things together, and of his tragic end.

Ideas

Really?, wherein David Voron ponders the idea that what we perceive as reality might not actually exist.

On Susan Stebbing and the role of public philosophy , wherein we learn how a book written in the late 1930s and its author offer lessons for us over 80 years later.

Apocalyptic Infrastructures, wherein Laleh Khalili argues that infrastructure must remain public so that we can all continue to benefit from it and to keep it intact.

The Dark Side of Technology

Future Shlock, wherein Jathan Sadowski explores the idea that the utopian vision that tech firms push only benefits them and is a vision that's actually dystopian for the rest of us.

'Spy pixels in emails have become endemic', wherein we learn about those little images embedded in emails, what they're used for, and why they're dangerous.

Tracking dots article, wherein we learn about machine identification codes which offer a way to track people who made hard copies using a particular printer.

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 English became the language of physics, wherein we learn how in the middle and late 20th century, English supplanted German, French, and even Russian as the major language for physics research.

Blueprints Of Intelligence, wherein Philipp Schmitt ponders how AI diagrams prompt[s] us to consider how their creators think about cognition.

Not all early human societies were small-scale egalitarian bands, wherein we learn that the image of small, mobile, egalitarian bands of hunter gatherers is only a small part of the picture and that those bands may actually be an outlier.

Technology

The Case Against 'STEM', wherein M. Anthony Mills argues that we shouldn't lump science and technology together as educational pursuits since the aims and goals of the two are different.

The pandemic and a boom in digital services have revolutionized how we die, wherein Marianne Bray looks at how startups are working overtime to digitize practices around death.

How and why I stopped buying new laptops, wherein Kris De Decker explains why he tries, wherever possible, to bring new life to older laptop computers — and it's not all about saving money.

Odds and Ends

How some people can end up living at airports for months – even years – at a time, wherein Janet Bednarek looks at the ways and the whys some people take up residence in terminals for weeks, months and sometimes years.

The new use for abandoned oil rigs, wherein we learn about efforts to turn disused oil rigs as the framework for growing coral reefs.

When the Cholera Came, wherein Lindsey Hilsum contrasts living in the time of coronavirus and its requisite lockdowns and the cholera outbreak in Rwanda in the early 1990s.

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:

History

Is Westernisation fact or fiction? The case of Japan and the US, wherein Jon Davidann argues that Japan from the 19th century onward wasn't westernized but that the Japanese looked at the West and question[ed] and critique[d], embrace[ed] and reject[ed] as they saw fit.

The Audacious Tabloid Couple Who Scammed Their Way Into New York’s High Society, wherein we learn how a pair of clever, charismatic con artists took NYC by storm, and of their sad fates.

José Epita Mbomo, the Spanish electrician who sabotaged the Nazis, wherein we hear the long-untold story of an immigrant to Spain who used his skills to thwart, in a small way, the Wehrmacht during World War Two.

Technology

Where the internet was delivered by a donkey, wherein we learn about the internet-in-a-box, which is a repositor[y] of downloaded internet content that can be accessed by offline communities and how it's being used in Kyrgyzstan (and elsewhere).

From Tech Critique to Ways of Living, wherein Alan Jacobs ponders breaking our of the scary, invasive walled gardens of big technology firms and opting instead for the cultivation of the “digital commons” of the open web.

Platform Capitalism, Empire and Authoritarianism: Is There a Way Out?, wherein David Murakami Wood posits that giant digital platforms have too much power and influence over all aspects of our personal, political, and economic lives.

Odds and Ends

A joyless trudge? No, thanks: why I am utterly sick of ‘going for a walk’, wherein Canadian expat Monica Heisey ponders, and is puzzled by, the English obsession of walking as a pastime.

I’ve Lost My Identity’: On the Mysteries of Foreign Accent Syndrome, wherein Roger Kreuz and Richard Roberts briefly looks at why FAS occurs, the effect on those afflicted with it, and how *our self-concept is intimately tied up with how we speak and how we sound to others.”

Roadside Picnics: Chernobyl UFOs & The Falcon Lake Incident, wherein Darmon Richter looks at the parallel UFO cultures that have developed in two very different places but which share some similarities.

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 holiday Monday down in my part of the world, but I'm not slacking off. See? I do care!

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

The less equal we become, the less we trust science, and that's a problem, wherein Tony Ward briefly explores why trust in science is dipping and why that's becoming a major problem.

How Intelligent Could Life Be Without Natural Selection?, wherein Arik Kershenbaum ponders whether intelligence, and the ability to bypass natural selection, [can] also bypass the limits that the natural world imposes?

How lightning strikes could explain the origin of life—on Earth and elsewhere, wherein Neel V. Patel looks at how lightning could have been a literal spark of life on the primordial Earth, and discusses the consequences that could have for the search for extraterrestrial life.

Technology

Recommended Writing, wherein Crystal Chokshi looks at predictive text algorithms and the negative effects that those algorithms have on writing (and more).

How to poison the data that Big Tech uses to surveil you, wherein Karen Hao looks at movements to deprive the algorithms deployed by tech giants of meaningful data and how they can help return some control to us.

Why France’s new 'repairability index’ is a big deal, wherein we learn how a move by the French government to fight planned obsolescence of electronics might influence companies to make devices we can actually repair.

Ideas

The joys of being an absolute beginner – for life, wherein Tom Vanderbilt looks at the struggles, the joys, and the benefits of learning regardless of your age and whether or not you become good at what you're trying to learn.

Thirteen to One, wherein Marie Mutsuki Mockett looks at her relationship with, and experience of, Japanese culture through the lens of the country's myths and folklore.

The milk of human genius, wherein Lesley Hughes surveys the landscape of companies large and small developing plant-based alternatives to dairy products and how they have the potential to upend the food industry.

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

Texas Republicans Discover the True Meaning of Free Markets, wherein after the extreme weather in Texas in February, 2021, Nathan J. Robinson rightly points out that [P]rice gouging is a feature, not a bug, of free markets.

The Nature of Money, wherein M.K. Anderson looks at how the financial system, and punishments for theft and fraud in that system, skew positively to the moneyed while the poorer suffer.

What bankers should learn from the traditions of pastoralism, wherein Ian Scoones looks at the lessons in resilience and risk management that the financial world can learn from itinerant animal herders.

Productivity

How to Quiet Your Mind Chatter, wherein we learn a technique or two that can help us to tell that annoying, distracting voice inside our heads to shut up.

Rank and File, wherein Robert Minto explores his attempts to become a better note taker, and his eventual revelation that a scholar’s notes were not a life’s work, but only a tool.

Why we procrastinate on the tiniest of tasks, wherein we learn why we let the small stuff loom large and some strategies to change that.

Arts and Literature

How the English Language Failed Banana Yoshimoto, wherein translator Eric Margolis looks at the original English translation of the Japanese's author's breakthrough novel, finds it wanting, and discusses how it helped Yoshimoto become an international literary icon that nearly was.

The Cave of Time, wherein we learn the origins of the Choose Your Own Adventure children's book series and why it became so popular.

Why Computers Will Never Write Good Novels, wherein Angus Fletcher refutes the claims of AI researchers the computers can pen literature, arguing that causal reasoning is beyond digital brains.

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

Don't Hate the Phone Call, Hate the Phone, wherein we learn that making phone calls with a smartphone can be a chore because of the design of the phone and the underlying infrastructure than the intrusiveness of the call itself.

The tyranny of passwords – is it time for a rethink?, wherein Sirin Kale looks at the problems with passwords and some possible solutions to those problems.

The House That Bitcoin Built, wherein we learn about a so-called hacker haven in Buenos Aires and about the impact that what came out of it had on the cryptocurrency world.

Ideas

We live in a wake-centric world, losing touch with our dreams, wherein Rubin Naiman looks at the why and how of REM dreaming and the reasons it's important to our physical and mental well being, and at why we're becoming as dream deprived as we are sleep deprived.

How '15-minute cities' will change the way we socialise, wherein we learn how COVID-19 lockdowns made people in Paris better appreciate their neighbourhoods and communities, and how that could be a template for interacting with cities in the future.

The Beijing Heidegger Reading Group, wherein Coby Goldberg discusses his first experience and struggles with the works of the German philosopher while an exchange student at Tsinghua University.

Online Life

Facebook is a Doomsday Machine, wherein Adrienne LaFrance argues that the social network is more than that, it's more than a media company, that it can harm society just by existing.

Tim Berners-Lee's plan to save the internet: give us back control of our data, wherein we learn about the efforts of the World Wide Web's creator to shift control of data and how it's used online back into our hands.

Digital Immortality, wherein Houman Barekat looks at the small but growing industries devoted to keeping our digital memories alive after we pass on.

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.

That tempus does fugit. I'm still not believing that April's rolled into town. While that's happening, down here in New Zealand summer seems to be trying to hold on for dear life. What a wacky world we live in.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

History

What shaped E P Thompson, historian and champion of working people?, wherein Priya Satia explores how a historian with quite the cosmopolitan background became a proponent and chronicler of history from below.

The Hidden History of the First Black Women to Serve in the U.S. Navy, wherein we learn about the Golden Fourteen, a group of black women who worked in the US Naval Reserve in World War One and how their story has almost been forgotten.

The Future Encyclopedia of Luddism, wherein we're treated to an alternative history in which the Luddites succeeded and how that might not have been a bad thing.

Space

The New History of the Milky Way, wherein we learn how scientists, using new data, were able to paint a sharper, more accurate picture of our galaxy's history.

Apes, robots and men: the life and death of the first space chimp, wherein we learn a bit about how animals were used as proxies during the early space race, and how that fuelled an ongoing battle among both Soviet and US astronauts about how much autonomy they would have as pilots.

Mars is a Hellhole, wherein Shannon Stirone outlines why humans shouldn't colonize the Red Planet.

Odds and Ends

It's time to retire the Doomsday Clock, wherein Shannon Osaka argues that the famed warning published by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has outlived it purpose and usefulness.

Pellet Ice Is the Good Ice, wherein Helen Rosner pens a paen to ice — not the stuff that comes out of our freezers and mundane ice makers, but the really good ice at the pinnacle of which she places pellet ice.

On Running, wherein Larissa Pham ponders why she runs and her relationship with the act of rapidly putting one foot in front of another.

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:

Productivity

In Defense of Doing Nothing, wherein Apoorva Tadepalli posits that instead of jumping on the productivity treadmill, maybe we should take the time to experiment with nothingness, with a failure of productivity

How too much mindfulness can spike anxiety, wherein we learn how the highly-touted practice can actually have negative effects on our bodies and minds.

Stateless, wherein Leo Babauta looks at a way to reduce the overwhelm and help us to focus on the present.

Technology

The Melancholy of New Media, wherein Tung-Hui Hu muses upon the impermanence of digital media, which seems to fade faster than the physical media it's supposed to replace.

The Code That Controls Your Money, wherein we learn how a programming language created in the 1960s still powers so many critical financial systems and why it hasn't been replaced by more modern, flashier languages.

How Empathy and Creativity Can Re-humanise Videoconferencing, wherein Robert O'Toole ponders the current state (both technological and ethical) of videoconferencing tools and posits how they can be better.

Odds and Ends

What We Owe Our Whistleblowers, wherein Joseph Sorrentino looks at one of the factors that stops potential a whistleblower from taking action and that it's not always fear of retaliation.

How a Nuclear Submarine Officer Learned to Live in Tight Quarters, wherein Steve Weiner explains how his experience as a nuclear submariner is helping him deal with COVID isolation in Turkey.

The Green Fuse in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, wherein Regan Good decides to finally explore the natural world around her New York City home, and we learn what she discovered.

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

Over Time, Buddhism and Science Agree, wherein biologist David P. Barash examines the Buddhist concept of anitya and how it relates to his discipline.

The Evolution Of A Special Species, wherein Lesley Newson explores the idea (which is gaining popularity once again) that human evolution is a result of a combination of genetics and culture.

Quantum philosophy: 4 ways physics will challenge your reality, wherein Peter Evans looks at how, when pondering quantum theory we're forced to rethink the way the world fundamentally works.

Online Life

The Grift of Online Entrepreneurship, wherein Brett Nelson looks at the so-called coaches and gurus offering a path to riches online and the bill of goods they're selling.

Search Engines Don't Work and They Are Not Good, wherein Christopher Butler looks at how we find and amass information, and that relying on search engines like Google's to supply us with that information puts us at their mercy.

A Vast Web of Vengeance, wherein we learn how easy it is for someone to post slanderous and damaging posts about someone else online but how hard it is to get those posts removed.

Business and Economics

How Amazon Destroys the Intellectual Justifications for Capitalism, wherein we learn how the ecommerce giant willingly bends laws to compete with rivals and drive them out of business or off its platform.

At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan—and Her Own Grandsons, wherein we learn how greed and ambition helped create a huge rift in a wealthy family.

Out of Options, wherein Alexander Sammon discusses how they got into day trading and how they learned that the market is stacked against the small investor.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Environment

The Planet Needs a New Internet, wherein Maddie Stone looks at the current state of the internet and concludes that to make it sustainable we’ll need to harden and relocate the infrastructure we’ve built, find cleaner ways to power the web, and reimagine how we interact with the digital world.

The Climate Crisis Is Worse Than You Can Imagine. Here’s What Happens If You Try, wherein we learn about Peter Kalmus and how his obsession with climate changes has changed his life and that of his family, sometimes not in a good way.

Can the Internet Survive Climate Change?, wherein Kevin Lozano looks at how the internet is likely to face changes to its basic infrastructure that will be both sweeping and hard to predict.

Work

Why self-compassion – not self-esteem – leads to success, wherein we learn that beating ourselves up after making mistakes doesn't drive us to improve, but quite the opposite.

The Intentional Precarity Of Gig Work In America, wherein Hillel Aron looks at the gig economy and learns the feeling of not knowing whether a night’s work will cover your bills is a common one among gig workers in America.

The Silicon Valley Economy Is Here. And It’s a Nightmare., wherein we're introduced to the idea that the so-called gig economy is a window into a nightmare vision of what the world would look like if it were run by our digital overlords.

Ideas

Decelerate Now, wherein Gavin Mueller argues that slowing down so-called technical innovation not only benefit workers affected by new technologies but also all of society.

The high price of broadband is keeping people offline during the pandemic, wherein Eileen Guo ponders whether the digital divide exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic is one that can be fixed with more infrastructure, or one that requires social programs to address affordability and adoption gaps?

A Simple Way to Reduce Cognitive Bias, wherein we learn that paying attention to the details of your environment can make you a little more rational.

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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