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:

Ideas

The lady vanishes, wherein learn about philosopher Mary Hesse and her ideas, and how she and those ideas were gradually eased into obscurity — a victim of collective forgetting.

Philosophy for Passengers: Reflections on 'Passenger Time', wherein Michael Marder looks at different, sometimes slower and more relaxed, ways of perceiving time.

Skepticism is a way of life that allows democracy to flourish, wherein Nicholas Tampio looks at what skepticism actually is, and it's not the dogged and stubborn and inflexible contrariness that many perceive it to be.

Writing

Andrew Chee on staying organized while writing, wherein the [what kind of writer] explains how he keeps track of what he's written and how he tracks revisions.

How to Be an Incipit, wherein Paul Vacca looks at first sentences and what makes a great one.

Aristotle goes to Hollywood, wherein we learn that ancient Greek philosopher's Poetics encapsulates all the rules of storytelling, rules which are still relevant and useful to writers today.

Odds and Ends

The Future of Tokyo, wherein Cole Lubchenko looks at how Japan's largest city is planning to transform itself into an urban area that is friendlier to pedestrians (and the environment).

Lost in Thought, wherein we learn about research that indicates prolonged meditation can have harmful psychological effects on some people.

What would a flying-free world look like?, wherein Jocelyn Timperley examines the impact on the environment, economies, and on people if we all stopped traveling by air.

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:

Crime

How I Infiltrated One of L.A.’s Most Vicious Motorcycle Gangs—and Lived to Talk About It, wherein a retired federal agent recounts his time, deep undercover, with a dangerous California biker gang and how his work helped slow the growth of that gang down.

Inside the Tow Truck Mafia: How Organized Crime Took Over Canada’s Towing Industry, wherein we learn how towing damaged and broken down vehicles in Ontario, Canada became a cutthroat business run by organized crime.

'This Wasn't His First Time', wherein we learn how lawyer Matthew Meller became the prime suspect in a bizarre series of home invasions and what drove him to allegedly committing those crimes.

History

Derinkuyu: Mysterious underground city in Turkey found in man’s basement, wherein we learn how what started as a simple home renovation project uncovered a large, ancient underground living space.

A Surprise Cave Finding Has Once Again Upended Our Story of Humans Leaving Africa, wherein we learn about a recent archaeological find which shows that modern humans may have been in western Europe earlier than originally thought.

Life in early cities: on neighbourhoods and energised crowding, wherein we learn how the growth of neighbourhoods in early cities had a variety of impacts on those cities.

Ideas

Little White Lies, wherein John-Paul Heil explores the idea that deception was vital for leaders to maintain society, but any deception must be for the greater good and not only for the benefit of those leaders.

How I Started to See Trees as Smart, wherein Matthew Hutson dives into the latest thinking into intelligence in entire living systems, and how altering our states of mind can help us perceive that intelligence.

How to think about free will, wherein Julian Baggini explores the ideas of choice and inevitability, and whether or not there's such a thing as free will.

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

Clean energy is buried at the bottom of abandoned oil wells, wherein we learn about efforts to repurpose old oil and gas wells as cleaner sources of geothermal energy.

Why the Age of Fire Is Over—We Know How to Live Without It, wherein Lloyd Alter explains why we no longer need to burn things like wood or fossil fuels to provide us with power and warmth.

The air conditioning paradox, wherein we explore the problem with cooling ourselves as the world gets warmer, and whether those efforts are making climate change worse.

Technology

Agile and the Long Crisis of Software, wherein we learn how and why the titular software development method came about, and why it might not be the solution that its creators intended (or thought) it to be.

The Internet Is Not as New as You Think, wherein Justin E. H. Smith argues that what we call the internet is just the latest permutation of a complex of behaviours that is part of the core of living things.

Japan once led global tech innovation. How did it fall so behind?, wherein Roland Kelts explores why Japan's digital ecosystem seems to be a strange hodgepodge of (incomplete) modern tech and systems from the early 2000s.

Business and Economics

The Smash-and-Grab Economy, wherein we learn how private equity firms have, and continue to, harm the economy and with that the lives of ordinary people.

How Much Is the Ocean Worth?, wherein we learn how an economist and a psychologist are trying to translate the value of living whales and entire ecosystems into dollars and cents as a way to incentivize their protection.

Castles & Capitalists, wherein we learn how the creators of Dungeons & and Dragons not only had to deal with backlash from the religious right but also had to fight each other for a share in the profits that their creation generated.

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

What We Talk about When We Talk about Holes, wherein Evelyn Lamb tries to find out what holes are, topologically speaking, and discovers that mathematicians don't have a unified view of what holes are.

Why human brains were bigger 3,000 years ago, wherein we learn how and why our brains have lost volume over millennia and why having a bigger brain doesn't necessarily make someone or something more intelligent.

What is a Particle?, wherein we learn that even physicist can't (quite) agree on an answer to that question, mainly because there are many facets to the answer.

History

Studying the Script, wherein Silvia Ferrara looks at how Chinese hanzi developed and ponders their origins.

The record-breaking dive under the Arctic ice, wherein Richard Hollingham recounts the first crossing to the North Pole by the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus, and both the military and scientific achievements of that voyage.

When did the Medieval Period End?, wherein a quartet of historians weigh in on when they believe the so-called modern age started.

Odds and Ends

Personal Knowledge Management is Bullshit, wherein Justin Murphy argues that the currently-popular and widely-touted tools for managing our information only really work for a small number of people, and that those tools can't deliver on their promises to most users.

The Life and Death of the Original Micro-Apartments, wherein Kyle Chayka reflects on Tokyo's now-demolished Nakagin Capsule Tower, an interesting experiment in urban architecture and living which, while it didn't catch on, was both futuristic and uniquely Japanese.

Before Camping Got Wimpy: Roughing It With the Victorians, wherein we get a glimpse at what early recreational camping was like, before it became fetishized and a high-tech gear arms race among campers.

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:

Online Life

False Futurism, wherein Paris Marx argues that the so-called metaverse is just going to be another way to go online, but with even more corporate control.

Finding Heroes In A Messy Digital World, wherein we learn why it's so difficult, in these internet-driven times, to find good moral exemplars, and are offered a few ideas that can help us with that search.

Our Misguided Obsession with Twitter, wherein Cal Newport points out that the social media platform is hardly a town square, in which the voice of the masses is amplified, but rather a megaphone for the loud and the elites in our society.

Arts and Literature

Philip K Dick: the writer who witnessed the future, wherein Adam Scoville looks at how the SF author was able to presciently envision aspects of our modern age 40 and more years ago.

‘It was the poor man’s studio’: how Amiga computers reprogrammed modern music, wherein we learn how an early multimedia computer helped to not just democratize and make affordable (to a degree) music production, but also helped develop several styles of popular music.

Quatermass: The sci-fi series that terrified a generation, wherein we learn how a thinly-budgeted trio of serials on British TV not only entertained and terrified a generation, but also helped create the template for so-called event television.

History

The Wild West Outpost of Japan’s Isolationist Era, wherein we learn about Dejima, a section of Nagasaki during Japan's feudal times — the only place in the nation in which foreigners could set foot on Japanese soil.

The Most Important Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of, wherein we learn about Clair Patterson, a researchers with multiple achievements to his name, the most important of which was his life-long fight (and victory) against leaded gasoline.

The Battle of the Gauges, wherein we get a look at nineteenth century tensions and frustrations around the width of railway tracks, and learn about the wide-ranging consequence of the resolution of the struggle to solve that problem.

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

The Most Important Economic Policy Model Nobody Understands, wherein Mark Paul explains the (flawed) model used by the US Congressional Budget Office to determine the cost of programs, and why it has so much power over the economy.

Primitive communism, wherein Manvir Singh refutes the idea that hunter-gatherer societies knew little or nothing about the concept of private property, and why the narrative of primitive communism persists despite the contrary evidence.

The $2 Billion Mall Rats, wherein we learn about the American hedge fund that bet against bonds heavily weighted with debt issued to shopping malls, and how that bet paid off for them (thanks, in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic).

The Dark Side of Technology

The Oversight Bloc, wherein we learn how a broad coalition of community groups in San Diego fought against, and were able to get defunded, a surveillance system that had wider uses and implications.

The streets have eyes, wherein we learn about the growing pervasiveness of surveillance technology deployed in New Zealand's cities, about the opaqueness of what they're being used for and by whom the data is being used, and whether or not those cameras are effective.

‘Bossware is coming for almost every worker’: the software you might not realize is watching you, wherein we learn about the tools that more and more companies are covertly deploying to keep an eye on their employees, and the issues inherent in those tools and their use.

Odds and Ends

The surprising afterlife of used hotel soap, wherein we learn how a backyard enterprise started a charity that recycles leftover soap bars from hotels and puts them in the hands of children in need around the world.

The Icelandic Bakery That Buries Its Bread in Hot Springs, wherein we learn about the interesting, and near-zero energy, way in which baker Sigurður Rafn Hilmarsson makes his rye bread.

Overgrown Okinawa, wherein Kyle Johnson takes us on a short architectural tour of the Japanese island and how nature there is interacting with older buildings built using modern techniques.

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:

Space

NASA is supporting some seriously risky missions to the Moon—it’s about time, wherein we learn about some of the smaller-scale lunar missions that the space agency is funding, ones being developed by private companies.

5 failed alternatives to the Big Bang theory and why they didn't work, wherein we learn about some of the challengers to the dominant theory of how our universe came to be and where they fell flat.

How the “Suicide Squad” Turned Into One of the World’s First Rocket Companies, wherein we learn how three enthusiasts turned their passion, and research for one's doctoral thesis, into a business selling rocket boosters.

Productivity

The Rise of the Tabulated Self, wherein we learn a bit about the origins modern second brain tools and how they've invaded both the personal and professional lives of their devotees.

Curbing a Compulsive Habit: A Primer, wherein Leo Babauta explains why we have such habits and offers advice about how to rid ourselves of them.

Why Your 'Digital Shabbat' Will Fail, wherein Kelsey Osgood explains just that, a big part of which has to do with the individual nature of most digital sabbaths and a surprising philosophical reason.

Writing

How to Use (or Not Use) a Hyphen, wherein we learn a bit more about the oft-misused punctuation mark, and why people either embrace or ignore it.

Notes on Craft, wherein Amy Bloom discusses the importance of listening to and observing the world to a writer, and how that helps her with revising her writing.

In praise of the ellipsis, wherein Henry Oliver pens a short paen to those three dots, lamenting how writers use them and explaining how he thinks those writers should use the ellipsis.

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

Digital Rocks, wherein we learn how theatres, and traditional filmmaking, are in a fight for their lives against digital cinema, and how they're gradually losing that fight.

On Notes to a Future Self: How Journaling Helps Me Write , wherein Kate Folk explains how writing in her daily journal provides her with potential writing ideas that she might dip into in the future.

Beebology: What next for the BBC?, wherein Stefan Collini looks at the history of the BBC — how it's evolved over the last 100 years and how it needs to change to survive into the future.

Work

What Le Corbusier got right about office space, wherein Tim Harford looks at how making tweaks to a worker's space in their workplace can give them a feeling that the space is their own, which can increase their productivity and satisfaction.

Why workers and employers are ghosting each other, wherein we get a bit of insight into the reasons behind workers and companies are abruptly ceasing contact with each other, and how that can affect perceptions of professionalism on both sides.

Cut yourself and others some slack: we need more time to experiment and fail at work, wherein Maroš Servátka discusses why some managers and companies discourage their employees from experimenting on the job, and why that can be a mistake.

Odds and Ends

The hustler at the end of the world, wherein one person who was trying to cash in on the demand for personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic discovered just how unsavory and manipulated the supply chains for those products had become.

The Greatest Traveler You’ve Never Heard Of, wherein we learn about how James Robert Harris became a prolific solo traveler and why that continues to have a hold on him.

How polyester bounced back, wherein we learned how the one-time wonder material fell out of favour after a stint of popularity, and why polyester has now become the clothing fiber de jour.

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

Cryptographers Achieve Perfect Secrecy With Imperfect Devices, wherein we learn how researchers have proven that so-called quantum devices, although impractical at the moment, can communicate with perfect secrecy.

Einstein wasn’t a “lone genius” after all, wherein Ethan Siegel argues that the legendary physicist didn't come up with his ideas in isolation, but was influence by the work of, and his interactions with, others.

How Quantum Computers Will Correct Their Errors, wherein we learn how these once theoretical machines will be able to not just detect when errors occur but also fix them, without jumbling the data that they're crunching.

History

When Police Clamped Down on Southern California’s Japanese-American Bicycling Craze wherein we learn how authorities in California used restrictive ordinances around cycling to enforce racial segregation and to further foster anti-Asian sentiment.

There’s more to Sparta than martial valour and austerity, wherein we learn that being a city of warriors is only one iteration of Sparta's history, a history that has more depth and breadth than most of us realize.

The People Who Decide What Becomes History, wherein learn about the work of academic historians and how they mix fact with more than a liberal bit of storytelling, and always have.

Odds and Ends

Before Wordle, There Was Cross-Word Mania, wherein we dip into the what's new is old again files and learn about the pre-digital word game that not only gripped America's attention but also weaved its way into the fabric of its era's pop culture.

The country that became a 'micronation capital', wherein we learn about the tiny country-wannabes that have been founded around the world in recent decades and why Australia leads the way (having a dozen or so of them within its borders).

A day in the life of (almost) every vending machine in the world, wherein Tom Lamont takes us on a global, 24-hour tour of what people are buying from those ubiquitous machines while giving us a bit of a history lesson and looking at how the industry continues to change.

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 yet another month has rolled around so quickly. Just wish it would happen a bit more slowly!

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

The big idea: should we get rid of the scientific paper?, wherein Stuart Ritchie argues that scientific journals need to change the way in which they gather, review, and publish research to make the process better suited to the internet age.

Beyond the Second Law of Thermodynamics, wherein we learn how scientists are trying to update and revise the titular law.

Where do theories come from?, wherein a group of physicists explains how they generate ideas, and how some of those ideas develop into theories that they can test.

Space

China Dreams Of A Palace In The Sky, wherein Jacob Dreyer recounts China's ambitions in space, and how the country's government is getting the public (especially the middle class) on board with those ambitions.

Spaceplanes: The return of the reusable spacecraft?, wherein we learn how a British startup is trying to revive a space transport concept thought dead and obsolete.

The Moon Is Underrated, wherein Sean Raymond looks at how our planet's natural satellite came into being, and why the moon is so important to us.

Productivity

Why Your Leisure Time is in Danger, wherein Krzysztof Pelc argues that employee time off should be viewed (by employers and employees) as time to rest and that we must should fight the urge to reduce it to a productivity hack.

Destroy What You Know, wherein Leo Babauta offers a short bit of advice about how to really change your life or learning.

How to be indistractable, wherein Nir Eyal shares their research into distraction (and, no, it's not always caused by technology), and offers some sensible advice about how to combat your distractions.

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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