Kickoff For October 28, 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.

It’s Labour Day weekend here in New Zealand and I’ve been enjoying the time off. That doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting with my feet up, drink in hand. Well, I have. But I’ve also been reading. See how much I care?

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


The mystery of unexplained earthquakes, wherein we enter the world of seismic detectives, get a glimpse at how they try to determine whether earthquakes are natural or caused by humans, and discover how difficult that is.

Can Learning a Foreign Language Prevent Dementia?, wherein we find out that learning a foreign language might not have some of the beneficial effects ascribed to it by some poly- and hyperglots, and that learning another tongue will just make you a better speaker of a foreign language.

The ABC of time, wherein Matt Farr introduces us to three theories of time, and focuses on one that doesn’t seem to make sense in our perception of how time runs. A big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff indeed.


The city that launched the publishing industry, wherein we learn how medieval Venice became the publishing centre of the western world, and how some people are trying to revive the city’s publishing traditions.

Brilliant Visions: Peyote among the Aesthetes, wherein Mike Jay takes a look back at early experimentation with mescaline at the turn of the 20th century, and how those who partook saw a future world of visual spectacle, equal parts scientific discovery and aesthetic delight.

The Maid Who Mapped the Heavens, wherein we discover the work of Mina Fleming, whose relatively unsung work at Harvard College Observatory in the late 19th century helped open astronomy as a career for women.


Writing the Future With Utopias, wherein we’re introduced to some classic and decidedly utopian literature, and examine how that literature nudges readers into thinking critically and more deeply about the future.

Reddit, with wigs and ink, wherein we dip into the what’s new is old again file and discover that concerns about newspapers and published letters 300 years ago reflect our current worries about what appears on the internet.

On Deep Ethics, wherein we’re taken on a trip into the world of deep ethics, and discover why that idea is so important to us and our survival, as well as the survival of the planet on which we live.

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

Scott Nesbitt