Kickoff For June 10, 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.

You might know that I write the occasional ebook. One that I’ve recently (re)published is a collection of essays about my travels around Japan titled Glimpses of the Rising Sun. It’s not your typical travel book; it’s a personal journey through another country. Until July 7th, you can get the book for half price using the discount code 68jumtj.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


Why there’s so little left of the early internet, wherein we discover the efforts to archive the web for posterity, and the problems facing the organizations trying to do that deed.

Moral technology, wherein Paula Boddington warns that there are too many levels of subtlety and ambiguity in our lives and our world to allow artificial intelligence to make all of our major decisions for us.

On Bitcoin, wherein Donald MacKenzie gives one of the best explanations of the cryptocurrency that I’ve ever read, one which even someone with little technical knowledge can understand.


There Is No Reason to Cross the U.S. by Train. But I Did It Anyway, wherein Caity Weaver recounts a languid, pensive, and refreshing journey across the U.S. on an Amtrak train.

Embrace slow travel: Head to “Kyoto by the Sea”, wherein we discover that by venturing out of the city of Kyoto you can really learn more about the simple, rich, and fascinating towns that dot that beautiful Japanese prefecture.

Tourists behaving badly are a threat to global tourism, and the industry is partly to blame, wherein Freya Higgins-Desbiolles explains that some people travelling in other countries behave badly because there’s something about being on holiday that simply seems to lower people’s inhibitions, and examines how the tourism industry can help with this problem.


Vanishing chimpanzee cultures and the need to save animal knowledge, wherein we discover that chimps, and other animals, hand down knowledge in ways similar to humans, and how destroying their habitats can disrupt that transfer to the point of severely diminishing the chimps’ cultural repertoire.

Meet the man who helped double-check the sums to keep Apollo 11 safe, wherein we learn about the work of Dennis Sager, and other NASA mathematicians, who not just ensured that 1960s space shot calculations were correct but also came up with new courses and trajectories for spacecraft on the fly.

Red Sea stone tool find hints at hominins’ possible route out of Africa, wherein we’re told about the discovery of fairly advanced tools on the western edge of the Red Sea, an area which is the only land bridge that could have facilitated direct hominin movement between Africa and Eurasia in the past two million years.

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

Scott Nesbitt