Kickoff For September 2, 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.

As it turns out, I was the last person at The Day JobTM to come down with a cold. After about three months of battering, my immune system decided to tap out and tell me I was on my own. Being in a haze of cold meds made reading then writing up this week’s recommendations more difficult than it normally is, but I did it anyway. See, I do care.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:

Arts and Literature

The 1968 sci-fi that spookily predicted today, wherein we’re exposed to the work and workstyle of British SF author John Brunner, who was able to uncannily predict the (for him) future world.

Bookish Fools, wherein Frank Furedi looks at the long history of pompous, pretentious, and showy readers, and discusses why physical books are becoming markers for cultural distinction in our digital age.

H. G. Wells and the Uncertainties of Progress, wherein Peter H. Bowler examines the writer’s visions of the future from his fiction and non fiction, visions that are tinged with both hope and pessimism.


How the First Smartphone Came Out in 1994, But Flopped, wherein we dip into the what’s new is old again files, once again learn that building a technology without the proper supporting infrastructure is doomed to fail, and discover that we can’t predict the effects that technology’s spawn will have upon us in the future.

Bug Fixes, wherein Paul Ford shares a paen to open source code, one which even a someone with no technical skill or knowledge can both understand and appreciate.

Would your mobile phone be powerful enough to get you to the moon?, wherein Graham Kendall looks at that question and, despite the huge leaps in technology since 1969, comes away in awe of what a small computer was able to do.


Mending hearts: how a ‘repair economy’ creates a kinder, more caring community, wherein we enter the world of tinkerers and repairers, who are trying to prolong the life of consumer good, and learn how doing that saves money, protects the environment, and can help bolster society.

Noah Webster’s civil war of words over American English, wherein we learn how the namesake of the popular dictionary fought, and in many ways lost, battles to shape the American variant of the English language.

What’s in the Water, wherein Shelley Puhak reflects on teh destruction of an invasive species of fish in her Maryland hometown, and how we don’t always see what’s in the water (whether physically or metaphorically).

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

Scott Nesbitt