Kickoff For January 6, 2020

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.

And welcome to 2020. I hope the new year is treating you well. OK, it’s only six days old but why not be optimistic?

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


The fight to stop Nestlé from taking America’s water to sell in plastic bottles, wherein we hear yet another tale of a mega corporation profiting from what’s essentially a public resource and not giving much (if anything) back, and about the efforts to fight that corporation.

Beware Arguments For Privatization, wherein we learn that handing public assets over to corporations to run might not be the best approach, but instead that you have to invest in your public resources if you want them to be good.

I Accidentally Uncovered a Nationwide Scam on Airbnb, wherein we discover how Allie Conti stumbled upon a wide-ranging fraud perpetrated by fake Airbnb hosts, and what the company did (and didn’t) do when alerted to that fraud.


I Have No Idea What “Hard Work” Means, wherein Aisling McCrae examines the phrase hard work, and concludes that proclaiming that you work hard doesn’t make you exceptional or even special.

We have the tools and technology to work less and live better, wherein Toby Phillips argues that working less and having a good life is possible, but only if we structure our work and society towards that goal.

The Company That Branded Your Millennial Life Is Pivoting To Burnout, wherein we’re left to wonder whether we need a startup, and the brands it promotes, to tell us that it’s OK to enjoy daily life.

Odds and Ends

Gimme Shelter, wherein Wes Enzinna takes us on a personal tour of the housing situation in the Bay Area, through the lens of his life in a tiny backyard shack over the space of 11 months.

The Way Words Mean, wherein we discover that words an have several levels of meaning, one of which also offers levels of subtlety in what we say and write.

He Never Intended To Become A Political Dissident, But Then He Started Beating Up Tai Chi Masters, wherein we hear the story of Xu Xiaodong, a Beijing mixed martial arts instructor known for speaking his mind on a variety of political topics but who saves his (physical) wrath for fraudulent proponents of traditional martial arts.

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

Scott Nesbitt