Kickoff For December 9, 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.

This week brings another weird and wonderful mix of articles and essays for your reading pleasure. The picks are kind of a jumble, but they’re worth your time. I mean, would I lie to you?

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


The Race to Develop the Moon, wherein we learn about the fresh fascination countries and corporations have with the Earth’s only natural satellite, and get a glimpse into the plans that those countries and corporations have for the Moon.

Moon Fever, wherein we discover a bit more about the events that led to the first humans landing on the Moon, and the motivations of some of the people behind that effort.

How the first exoplanets were discovered, wherein we go back to 1992 and learn how astronomers, quite unexpectedly, caught glimpses of the first planets seen outside of our solar system.


How We Think about E-Waste Is in Need of Repair, wherein we learn that recycling our electronic waste isn’t enough. We need to be able to repair and upgrade it ourselves, with off-the-shelf components.

Pagers, faxes and cheques: Things that might seem obsolete, but aren’t, wherein we learn why three technologies doggedly cling to existence, even though there are more modern alternatives, and the fate that awaits them.

Silicon Valley: A Region High on Historical Amnesia, wherein we get a brief history of how, through government largess no less, Silicon Valley became what it is today, and how both libertarians and the tech corridor’s denizens have either forgotten or tried to rewrite that narrative.

Odds and Ends

The Amateur Cloud Society That (Sort Of) Rattled the Scientific Community, wherein we find out how a website created just for fun, and the site’s creator, built a community of people who love clouds and prodded the stuffy World Meteorological Organization to add a new type of cloud to its atlas.

Dark crystals: the brutal reality behind a booming wellness craze, wherein we learn about where the crystals that are fuelling the fad come from, the conditions under which people mine them, and how the money they make isn’t commensurate with the risks they’re taking.

Why are the Rich So Mean?, wherein Christopher Ryan argues that the compounded disappointment of being lucky but still feeling unfulfilled causes those with a lot of money to distance themselves from those with less, and to view them with disdain.

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

Scott Nesbitt