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.

Just to let you know that the next edition of the Monday Kickoff will be in your hands on 26 February.

With that out of the way, let's get this Monday started with these links:

The invisible dangers of travelling through time, wherein we explore the physics of journeying into the past and learn about ideas around how temporal paradoxes might be avoided.

What If Money Expired?, wherein we learn about the fiscal ideas of Silvio Gesell, who advocated that we make money worse as a commodity if we wish to make it better as a medium of exchange.

A Coder Considers the Waning Days of the Craft, wherein software developer James Somers offers a personal history of the work he does and how it's changing (and may even become irrelevant) thanks to large language models like ChatGPT.

Heartlands: Kanda-Sudacho, wherein Rebecca Saunders takes us on a tour of a village near a bustling part of Tokyo where the traditional truly meets the modern.

The Cassette-Tape Revolution, wherein Jon Michaud takes us through the joys and the power that the compact audio cassette brought to consumers, and why the music industry freaked about those little plastic squares.

The billionaire problem, wherein Geoff Mulgan examines why the extraordinarily rich are significantly to blame for the state of the world.

Here’s the Proof There’s No Government Alien Conspiracy Around Roswell, wherein we get a capsule history of UFO conspiracy theories and a few reasons why whatever crashed at Roswell, New Mexico in the late 1940s probably wasn't alien in origin.

How mathematics built the modern world, wherein we learn how innovations in measurement and calculation led to many of the concepts and technologies that we've come to rely upon since the Industrial Revolution.

The Truth About Lying, wherein we learn about why learning to tell tall tales is a part of a child's development, and how parents can help make telling the truth (rather than immediately shifting to deception) a child's preferred behaviour.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in 14 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:

Passive income: Can easy side hustles earn big money?, wherein we learn about some of the promises, and the realities, of set it and forget it-type schemes to generate income without doing much.

Why handwriting is good for your brain, wherein we learn how the direct involvement of the body and senses in mental processes, manifested using pen and paper, has many cognitive benefits.

California Nearly Killed HBO, wherein we learn how the Golden State tried to ban pay TV in its early years, the reasons why, and why that initiative failed.

Loved, yet lonely, wherein Kaitlyn Creasy examines the idea that our basic human needs include the desire to to be loved and to have our basic worth recognised, and how some people only get one of those two.

Math That Lets You Think Locally but Act Globally, wherein we're introduced to graph theory and how it can be applied to finding the shortest routes between cities (and more).

Radioactive Fictions: Marie Corelli and the Omnipotence of Thoughts, wherein Steven Connor examines the Edwardian novel The Life Everlasting and looks at how ideas about radiation and radioactivity influenced the book and its author.

Ford/Food, wherein Patrick Ellis looks at how the idea of fast food got started with Ford automobile factories in the early 20the century, and the legacy of that today.

Striking Isn't Enough: Screenwriters Should Create Their Own Studio, wherein a writer and a law professor argue that workers (and not just ones in the entertainment industry) need options beyond labour stoppages to protect their interest and to shift some power away from conglomerates.

She lived in a New York hotel for more than 40 years. But her life was a mystery, wherein we learn about Hisako Hasegawa who inhabited room 208 at New York's Belvedere Hotel until her death in 2016, a woman that staff and other residents knew but really didn't know.

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.

Wow. It's almost the end of January. Was it really meant to fly by that quickly? If that's the way 2024 is going, I really want someone to pump the brakes every so often over the next 11 months!

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

How the right to repair might change technology, wherein we learn about the environmental impact of devices that are pretty much disposable, and how being able to repair them ourselves can reduce that impact.

Shoot, Don't Kill, wherein we learn about a company in the US that sells (oxymoronic) non-lethal handguns and how that company is trying put their wares into the wider gun-buying consciousness.

Prison Plastic Surgery, wherein we learn about programs to try to reform criminals by reforming their faces, why those programs were unsuccessful, and why the ideas behind those programs are getting a second look.

Four Men, wherein William T. Vollmann recounts his attempts to interview three homeless men in Reno, Nevada, why he decided to do that, and what that revealed about himself.

How big is science’s fake-paper problem?, wherein we discover that so-called paper mills are churning out specious research at such high volumes that scientific publishers' verification systems can't keep up with that volume.

Inside the weird and delightful origins of the jungle gym, which just turned 100, wherein we learn why the ubiquitous climbing structure was created, how it became a staple of playgrounds everywhere, and why its nickname is incorrect.

Can We Even Have Babies in Space? Why We’re Not Ready for Life Off-Planet, wherein we learn about the challenges of not just living outside the confines of the Earth, but also the challenges of perpetuating the human species elsewhere.

Why classical music is boring – by a classical musician, wherein Diane Daly delves into ideas about how to get more people — both listeners and players — involved in the world of classical music.

The Brain Has a ‘Low-Power Mode’ That Blunts Our Senses, wherein we learn how mammalian brains react to not having enough fuel, and how that attempt to conserve energy dials down visual acuity.

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:

Alien language: If we met extraterrestrials, could we talk to them?, wherein we dive into some speculation about how language throughout the cosmos may share certain features, about what characteristics the languages that extraterrestrials use might have, and how we might recognize them.

Winging It with the New Backcountry Barnstormers, wherein we enter the world of American recreational bush pilots who, for the thrill of it and for love of flying, take their small planes to place they're not meant to go and who push those craft to their limits.

The ASUS Eee PC and the netbook revolution, wherein Corbin Davenport walks us through the history of the once-popular small computers and at what caused them to fade away.

'Louie Louie': The story behind the song everyone knows but no one understands, wherein we learn a bit about how the iconic pop song developed, and some weirdness about it that goes beyond the lyrics.

Repo Man, Cult Classic: Facts And Trivia About The Punk Rock Black Comedy, wherein we learn quite a bit about one of my favourite movies from the 1980s.

The People Who Ruined the Internet, wherein we step into the world of so-called SEO experts and learn a bit about why they do what they do, and why what they do isn't any good for any of us.

Louis Armstrong’s Last Word, wherein learn about the perception of the legendary musician both when he was alive and after his death, and about Armstrong's carefully-crafted plan to shape his own legacy.

The World's First App Store, wherein we discover how Japanese computer users in the latter half of the 1980s bought software from automated kiosks.

An Entire Continent Went Missing—But Scientists Have Found It Again, wherein we learn about a prehistoric land mass dubbed Argoland, how it might have disappeared, and the research that went into rediscovering its location.

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 are roundabouts?, wherein we get some background information about what those circular intersections are and why they can help improve traffic safety.

What 2,500 years of wildfire evidence and the extreme fire seasons of 1910 and 2020 tell us about the future of fire in the West, wherein we get a look at some research that points to the consistent links between the climate and the prevalence of wildfires.

Talking out loud to yourself is a technology for thinking, wherein we discover why and how the titular act can help us clear the cruft from our brains and, as a result, help us solve problems.

Climate Change Is Turning Up the Heat for Winemakers, wherein we explore the effects that human-led damage to the planet's climate has on viticulture, and what's being proposed to do something about that.

The Localist, wherein Jonathan Levy examines the influence of Adam Smith's economic theories on the so-called Chicago School and the results of that influence (which are still felt today).

The World’s Garbage Can: On the Human Consequences of Mass Export of Waste, wherein we get a capsule history of the export of waste from richer countries to poorer ones, and the impact that has on the environments and the health of those countries.

Don’t Learn Value From Society, wherein Wolf Tivy examines how social failure, to differing degrees and in different forms, isn't confined to any one strata of society.

Ostalgie: Revisiting East Germany, where Matthew Longo looks at nostalgia (for lack of a better word) for East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell, and why that nostalgia is especially strong today.

The Year A.I. Ate the Internet, wherein Sue Halpern looks back at the impact that artificial intelligence and large language models had on the world in 2023, and what's in store for us in the coming months and 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.

And welcome to 2024! I hope you all were able to take some time off to relax, enjoy yourselves, and spend time with those close to you.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Why Western democracy faces a nightmare made online, wherein we learn (yet again) how easy it is to spread lies and hate online, why politicians and political groups seize it, and how that's a threat to elections and democracy as we know it.

My Brain Doesn’t Picture Things, wherein we learn about aphantasia, an inability to visualize the input from our senses, and about some of the misconceptions surrounding this condition.

What Happened to the Polymaths?, wherein Timothy Sandefur explains the origins of the idea of the polymath, and why people have become more specialized in their knowledge and pursuits.

Becoming James Bond, wherein we dip into the life, not always so glamorous, of Ian Fleming and discover a few new facts about the author.

The Creepy New Digital Afterlife Industry, wherein we learn about the businesses aiming to not just craft virtual memorials but to recreate deceased loved ones digitally, and the potential problems that can arise from doing that.

The weird aliens of early science fiction, wherein we learn about the fantastical extraterrestrial being that late 19th and early 20th century authors conjured up.

The People Who Don’t Read Books, wherein we learn about those who despise and denigrate books and are given good reasons to disregard anyone in the business of selling a vision who proudly proclaims they hate reading.

A Brief History of the Office Cubicle, wherein we learn how an idea for a dynamic workspace devolved into the much-hated cubicle, and how the original idea behind the cubicle might be relevant today.

Wait, what’s a bookmarklet?, wherein we learn how, in the days before add-ons and extensions, people expanded the capabilities of their web browsers using snippets of JavaScript.

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.

The Monday Kickoff is going on a short holiday hiatus. The next edition will hit the interwebs on January 8, 2024. I hope you all are able to take some time off over the next couple or three weeks to relax and be with the people closest to you.

With that out of the way, let's get this Monday started with these links:

What does spending more than a year in space do to the human body?, wherein we're introduced to the toll that living off this planet takes on astronauts, and what that means for humans who will undertake longer space journeys.

An Apocalyptic Meditation on Doomscrolling, wherein Erik Davis examines why we're attracted to terrible news and why we feel compelled to take in as much of it as we can.

The Quiet Revolution of the Sabbath, wherein Casey Cep explores the concept of the Sabbath, how it's evolved over the ages, and its potential effects on our physical, mental, and spiritual well being.

The 15-Minute City Conspiracy Theory Goes Mainstream, wherein David Gilbert explores how paranoid concerns about an idea for liveable cities have started being embraced by members of the British government.

War elephants: How Carthage used a ‘psychological’ weapon the Romans failed to master, wherein we get a look into how those massive land animals were used by armies of the ancient world, some more effectively than others.

Why humans can’t trust AI: You don’t know how it works, what it’s going to do or whether it’ll serve your interests, wherein Mark Bailey examines the reasons why we can't put our faith in so-called artificial intelligence and, by extension, the people who develop those kinds of systems.

How we’ve enshittified the tech economy, wherein Ethan Zuckerman explores how online platforms have become worse for everyone (except the people running them), and how the idea of platform cooperativism could provide an alternative.

The ends of knowledge, wherein Rachael Scarborough King and Seth Rudy argue that an artificially or externally imposed end can help clarify both the purpose and endpoint of our scholarship.

Sun Tzu and the Art of Becoming Famous, wherein we learn some of the reasons why, out of hundreds of treatises on warfare and strategy from China, The Art of War became the best known of them.

See you in 2024!

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:

A cut too far: The people who can't give up paper, wherein we learn where and why some people and some profession rely on printed matter, and it's not just obsessed fetishists.

Rethinking the Luddites in the Age of A.I., wherein Kyle Chayka discusses a book about the Luddite movement that contends the adherents of the movement were for the rights of workers above the inequitable profitability of machines, and how that relates to reactions against modern tools powered by artificial intelligence.

The Lie Detector Was Never Very Good at Telling the Truth, wherein we get a closer look at the early history of a very flawed device that the law once leaned heavily upon.

Citizenship Restored, wherein Daniel Trilling recounts the process he went through to gain German citizenship, and the surprises about his family that he discovered along the way.

Are We Losing the War on Cancer?, wherein we learn that even though massive amounts of money, brain power, and effort have been put into fighting the titular disease we're no closer to eliminating it, and we get a look into why that is.

Think Again, Al Jolson: Japan’s Silent Movie Culture Is Still Going Strong, wherein we're introduced to the benshi, Japanese silent film narrators who even in this day and age are still going strong, albeit in a smaller way than in their heyday in the early 20th century.

Big Tech Is Watching You as You Drive, wherein Paris Marx looks at the promises tech lords made about fixing transport, why those promises were never realized, and how they're keeping people dependent on cars while keeping a closer eye on drivers.

The Art of Ugliness, wherein we're introduced to the work of painters whose work tried to extract some essential ugliness from human beings and make it beautiful.

Vergil’s secret message, wherein Julia Hejduk explains why, when reading ancient classic texts, we should keep our eyes and brains open to acrostics hidden therein as those will open a whole new set of meaning to us.

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 feels like December has come out of the blue, hasn't it? I know I'm not alone in wondering where the rest of 2023 went. But here we are.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

A tribute to the lost art of letter writing, wherein Robin Ashenden ponders the joys of writing, and receiving, handwritten missives from those we hold closest.

Go to Immirica, wherein we're introduced to the history of, and myriad reasons behind, sending poison pen letters.

Why We’ll Never Live in Space, wherein Sarah Scoles looks at the various factors that will prevent long-term human habitation beyond the confines of the Earth.

Wine’s True Origins Are Finally Revealed, wherein we learn from whence the grapes used to make the popular fermented juice originated and how they spread and evolved over the centuries.

The children leaving the Mafia, wherein we learn about efforts in Italy to turn the children of organized crime families away from the family business.

Confessions of a Viral AI Writer, wherein we get something of a mea culpa from a scribe who used large language models to help her pen articles and essays, and some of her thoughts about where this is leading the craft of writing.

How Terrible Meetings Took Over Corporate America, wherein Maxwell Strachan looks at how and why the number of meetings at companies (not just American ones) have increased, and looks at how some companies are trying to change that.

The Man Amazon Erased, wherein we learn about Brandon Jackson, a home automation enthusiast who learned that the wonders of the so-called smart home can turn into a personal nightmare.

J.G. Ballard’s Brilliant, “Not Good” Writing, wherein Tom McCarthy looks at what makes Ballard's writing so polarizing, factors which help make that writing work.

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 gold jewellery made from old phones, wherein we learn about the Royal Mint's efforts to recover gold from electronic circuit boards and about efforts to make e-waste recycling the social norm.

Mystery at the Oslo Plaza, wherein reporter Lars Christian Wegner re-examines the case of the 1995 murder in the Norwegian capital to try to finally discover the identity of the victim.

The Berkeley Hotel hostage, wherein we hear the story of how Douglas Adams' editor literally locked him in a hotel room so the deadline-averse writer would finish the book So Long and Thanks for All the Fish on time.

The big idea: are memories fact or fiction?, wherein Sophie McBain explores the idea that personal memories are closer to fiction than fact, and how our memories morph and warp over the course of our lives.

What would signal life on another planet?, wherein we're introduced to the ways in which astronomers hope to detect life on alien worlds, and how the James Webb Space Telescope might finally make doing that possible.

Is Homework Good for Kids?, wherein we learn that not only are the benefits of homework questionable but the practice also has clear detriments.

This Study Was Inspired by a “Doctor Who” Episode About Intelligent Pre-Human Reptiles, wherein we learn about the so-called Silurian hypothesis, a thought experiment around how we'd know if an advanced civilization preceded us.

A good conversation relaxes the mind and opens the heart, wherein Paula Marantz Cohen looks at what good conversation is (or, at least, what it can be) and why it's important for us to regularly engage in it.

The Raw, the Cooked and the Hydrolysed, wherein Fred Warren examines the damage, both to us and the environment, caused by consuming the ultra-processed foods that fill shelves in supermarkets and homes.

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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