Kickoff For July 9, 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.

Would you believe that The Monday Kickoff was originally planned to be an email newsletter? I had a newsletter a few years ago, which I distributed using a service called TinyLetter. The problem was that I grew uncomfortable with collecting peoples’ email addresses (even though I did nothing with them), and having that information collected by a third party. So a blog-ish website made the most sense.

So, there you go. Another small piece of this story …

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


Lost: Struggling to cope with millions of unclaimed items in Tokyo, wherein we enter, however briefly, Japan’s world of lost items and learn how they’re lost and what happens to those items.

He was one of millions of Chinese seniors growing old alone. So he put himself up for adoption, wherein we learn about growing old in China and how young people have abandoned the old model, but the government had yet to find a new system for senior care, creating a crisis in the care of the elderly.

This Boy From Mumbai Became the World’s Unlikeliest Crossword King, wherein we’re regaled with the story of Mangesh Ghogre, who cracked the intricacies of the design of American crossword puzzles. All without ever having set foot in the States.


The Digital Poorhouse, wherein Jacob Wisberg explores two books on the uses and abuses of algorithms, which describe how certain ones have hurt the poor and disadvantaged, and one of which offers a potential solution: ethical compunction rather than more data and better mining of it.

Ignore the hype over big tech. Its products are mostly useless, wherein we’re treated to a contrarian view of consumer technology: that most recent advances are products and services that we really don’t need.

Are You Really the Product? The History of a Dangerous Idea, wherein Will Oremus looks at a not-so-new idea — that if you don’t pay for a service, your data is the product — and presents a contrarian take on the idea.

Taking Things to Extremes

The Weird, Dangerous, Isolated Life of the Saturation Diver, wherein we enter the world of the professional deep-sea divers who spend days or weeks living in giant tin cans, and the mental and physical pressures they face while working at depth.

The Wisdom of Running a 2,189-Mile Marathon, wherein we learn what drives extreme endurance athletes, what keeps them going, and what can stop them in their tracks.

Chasing an Impossible Storm, wherein Brantley Hargrove recounts the last minutes of the life of storm chaser Tim Samaras, who went out doing what he loved most.

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

Scott Nesbitt