Kickoff For July 16, 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.

Have you ever had one of those weeks? The kind that grinds you down not because of one or more big things, but a lot of little things that sap your physical and psychic energy? Which crush your creativity and your motivation like a tomato on the receiving end of an anvil drop? That was the last seven days for me. All of that might have slowed me down, but it’s not going to stop me. We all, as the song says, have to keep on keeping on.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


Ego and Impulse Have Always Been a Threat to Democracy, wherein Ingrid Rossellini walks us through the meaning of politics in ancient Greece, and how the denizens of that age would be perplexed by modern politics and politicians.

Can Liberal Democracy Survive Social Media?, wherein Yascha Mounk argues that it’s not social media itself that’s crippling liberal democratic traditions, but rather it’s the alienation so-called young digital natives are feeling towards the institutions that govern them. And us.

Among Catalan Winemakers, Separatism Uncorked, wherein Meg Bernhard wanders Spain’s fiercely proud Catalan region and learns about the links the region’s winemakers have to the land, and how those links help fuel the Catalan independence movement.


But What Will Your Parent Think?, wherein Morgan Jerkins muses about how much of you and your life you can (and should) put into your personal writing.

Notes on Craft, wherein we’re treated to a short read that discusses what it takes to write something. And what it takes to write, and finish, that something might just surprise you.

From Star Wars to the Lord of the Rings: How to Build a World, wherein we learn about the history of world building (within literature, and without), and its importance not just to creators but to fans as well.


Are we alone? The question is worthy of serious scientific study, wherein Kevin Knuth argues that a fraction of UFO sightings could indicate the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence and that it’s a topic worthy of open scientific inquiry, until there is a scientific consensus based on evidence rather than prior expectation or belief.

The Strange History of the “King-Pine”, wherein we discover more than we ever wanted to about the not-so-humble pineapple, and in that learning we see how that fruit became a symbol of the divine right of kings, a talisman of empire, and an object of status.

The Daring Diplomat Who Proved One Person Can Thwart an Empire, wherein we hear the tale of UN diplomat Povl Bang-Jensen who championed refugees from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and, in doing so had his reputation destroyed and at the same time *saved the reputation of the United Nations**.

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

Scott Nesbitt