Kickoff For June 4, 2018

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 it’s been quite an interesting week of reading. I’ve been immersed in a heady, fascinating, and sometimes disheartening mix of prose. Some of it I found hard to believe (though I should know better by now), and the rest I just had to nod my head in agreement with.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


In Racine County, neatly maintained homes and dream houses are being designated ‘blighted’ to make way for Foxconn, wherein we hear the sickening tale of a local government in Wisconsin conspiring to drive people out of their homes to make way for a factory being built by a Taiwanese electronics maker.

The spectacular power of Big Lens, wherein we discover how concentrated the power has become in the global eyeware business, and how cutthroat that business can be.

For Amusement Only: the life and death of the American arcade, wherein Laura June chronicles the emergence of the video game arcade in the 1970s, and that institution’s sudden, brutal crash in 1983.


Escape the echo chamber, wherein we learn about epistemic bubbles and echo chambers, their differences and dangers, and how to get out of those bubbles and chambers (or avoid sliding into them).

Reading Das Kapital as a Victorian crime novel, wherein we learn that Marx’s viewpoint and sympathies were reflected in the novels of his time, and that we can read Das Kapital not as an economic tome but as a perverse and yet uncompromising piece of crime fiction.

Databodies in Codespace, wherein we learn about the Human Project, a (creepy, to be honest) 20-year project to quantify the human condition by collecting data about all aspects of the lives of a group of volunteers.


Dear Developer, The Web Isn’t About You, wherein web developer Charlie Owen explains the history of the web and why using the so-called latest and greatest web technologies doesn’t always provide the best user experience.

From USENET to Facebook: The second time as farce, wherein we learn that what’s new is old again, and that the problems we see in social media aren’t anything new. They’ve been with us since almost the dawn of the internet. But there is a solution: consistent moderation.

Palantir Knows Everything About You, wherein we learn about how a somewhat notorious tech company operates, how much data they’re helping authorities and businesses gather, and how some of that data is being used. Yep, it’s scarier and creepier than you might believe.

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

Scott Nesbitt