Kickoff For August 12, 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.

A while back, I mentioned that I’d be devoting the occasional edition of The Monday Kickoff to a single topic. This is one of those editions. I hope you enjoy it!

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


A City Is Not a Computer, wherein Shannon Mattern posits that the vision technologists have of so-called smart cities might not be the vision that urban areas need, or which city dwellers want.

The Inescapable Town Square, wherein LM Sacasas ponders what social media is and why we can’t really escape it.

How the news took over reality, wherein Oliver Burkeman examines our relationship and interaction with the news as it’s become more ubiquitous and, to a small degree, and more interactive (not always in a good way) thanks to social media.

Music of the Squares: David Ramsay Hay and the Reinvention of Pythagorean Aesthetics, wherein we’re exposed to the ideas of Victorian artist David Ramsay Hay, who applied music theory to physical objects to determine their beauty.

Rules in space, wherein Marko Kovic looks at some of the potential legal and political issues that could result from nations on Earth colonizing space.

Shade, wherein Sam Bloch looks at how shade is unevenly distributed throughout Los Angeles, and explains why shade should be considered a public good in LA (and elsewhere).

The Artificial Intelligence of the Public Intellectual, wherein Soraya Roberts charts the origins, rise, and recent decline of the so-called public intellectual.

The faux revolution of mindfulness, wherein Ronald Purser argues that the current fixation on mindfulness is mostly a crock, and that embracing it can have harmful effects on us and our society.

The Books of College Libraries Are Turning Into Wallpaper, wherein Dan Cohen examines why university students are using fewer dead-trees books and what what caused that change.

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

Scott Nesbitt