Kickoff For July 23, 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.

This time ’round, my picks are diverse but, in a sense, they’re not. There’s a common thread through most of the nine articles I’m linking to. That thread? Thought and communication, filtered through technology and how we use all three.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


To Build Truly Intelligent Machines, Teach Them Cause and Effect, wherein artificial intelligence (AI) pioneer Judea Pearl posits that to be truly intelligent, machines must develop a level of causal reasoning which most AI and machine learning specialists seem to be sidestepping.

Lost in Robo-Translation, wherein Sue Halpern encounters the joys (few) and the pains (many) of trying to use a much-hyped AI translation device while on a trip to Japan.

The khipu code: the knotty mystery of the Inkas’ 3D records, wherein we enter the world of the khipu, Inka data storage devices consisting of knotted strings, that collapse mathematics and language into something three dimensional, and which researchers have yet to decode.


Thousands of Swedes are inserting microchips into themselves – here’s why, wherein we discover that over 3,000 Swedish transhumanists, out of love for and fascination with technology have eagerly had some of that technology embedded beneath their skin.

Gone but Not Deleted, wherein Luke O’Neil examines how and why we choose to preserve the digital remnants left behind when family and friends pass on.

How the Blog Broke the Web, wherein we take a stroll down the web’s memory lane with Amy Hoy, who argues that hand-crafted web pages being supplanted by generated blogs took away so much of the character and originality of the web.

Arts and Literature

How communist Bulgaria became a leader in tech and sci-fi, wherein we hear the tale of Bulgaria’s rise to being the IT hub of the former Eastern Bloc, and how that spawned works of science fiction that mixed the technological with the philosophical and satirical.

Exquisite Rot: Spalted Wood and the Lost Art of Intarsia, wherein we’re exposed to the true beauty of the woodworking discipline of intarsia, and the natural processes that make it so unique.

If A Clockwork Orange Can Corrupt, Why Not Shakespeare and the Bible?, wherein author Anthony Burgess ponders the film adaptation of his best-know work, and concludes that film (in general, and A Clockwork Orange in particular) doesn’t instigate violence but teaches a mode of dressing up violence in a new way.

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

Scott Nesbitt