Kickoff For January 14, 2019

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.

Even though I’ve been living at the bottom of the world for over six years, the northern hemisphere native in me sometimes still has a hard time processing that summer can come in January. I’m not complaining, though. I don’t miss the snow and sub-zero temps of a Canadian winter.

And a quick reminder about my newsletter, Weekly Musings. If you’re interested in a short essay on what’s captured my interest in the last seven days, you can subscribe here.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:

History and Archaeology

New dates for ancient stone tools in China point to local invention of complex technology, wherein we learn of an archaeological discovery that shows how certain early tool making techniques developed in parallel between Africa and China.

Divining the Witch of York: Propaganda and Prophecy, wherein we hear the tale of 16th century sooth teller Mother Shipton, and learn a bit about why people embrace and fear prophecies.

How the Ancient Egyptian economy laid the groundwork for building the pyramids, wherein we learn about the power behind the power that enabled the pharoahs to build their monuments cum tombs.


Slow Thought: a manifesto, wherein we learn that taking time to think and deliberate not only has a place in teh modern world, but that it’s also essential.

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, wherein we explore the ideas of loneliness and solitude, which seem similar but which have entirely different meanings and connotations.

Why it is (almost) impossible to teach creativity, wherein we learn that true creativity goes beyond solving problems, and that educators need to stop stifling creativity and imagination with the results-based curricula they use.


MTA Versus MFA: On Trains as Writing Spaces, wherein Panio Gianopoulos teaches us that a noisy, crowded train can be the sanctuary that enables some writers to do the work.

Looking for a Model, wherein the legendary writer and teacher William Zinsser discusses who influenced his style as a scribe, and how he found his true writing voice when he was in his 50s.

What big data can tell us about how a book becomes a best-seller, wherein Albert-László Barabási looks at the numbers, and discusses patterns that can help determine whether or not a book will become a best seller.

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

Scott Nesbitt