Kickoff For February 3, 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.

Another month begins. And with it, some interesting (well, I think so) and varied articles for your reading pleasure. Don’t say I never get you anything.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


Intelligent Ways to Search for Extraterrestrials, wherein we learn about how some researchers are trying to find alien life, not by scanning for transmissions but by looking for physical traces of alien technology.

V2: The Nazi rocket that launched the space age, wherein Richard Hollingham discusses how the fabled German rocket from the last days of World War II provided the platform from which the subsequent Space Race started.

The Most Precious Commodity of the Next Space Age, wherein we learn why gravity is a key factor in successfully living in and exploring space, and why artificially simulating Earth-like gravity is so difficult.


The Story of America’s Most Prolific Counterfeiter, wherein we enter the world of Frank Bourassa, an ambitious Canadian career criminal who undertook an audacious counterfeiting scheme that drew the attention of both the RCMP and the Secret Service, and learn how that scheme unravelled.

The China Connection: How One D.E.A. Agent Cracked a Global Fentanyl Ring, wherein we learn of the relentless and gruelling work of drug enforcement agent Mike Buemi (and others), work that helped put a dent in a large, international drug trafficking operation.

The 70-year-old retiree who became America’s worst counterfeiter, wherein we hear the story of Emerich Juettner, an elderly junk collector who passed some of the worst fake $1 bills ever made but who got away with it for close to 10 years.


Science is Not About Getting More “Likes”, wherein we learn that scientists regularly dismiss alternatives to so-called accepted theories because they’re not popular, but that doing so diminishes science.

Three things the scientific community can do to filter sketchy research, wherein we learn (again) that some scientists are encouraged to publish poor-quality research papers and what other scientists can do to prevent that sub-standard research from circulating more widely amongst their peers.

The woman who reshaped maths, wherein we’re introduced to Hilda Geiringer, a pioneer of applied mathematics who, despite her achievements, never broke through the glass ceiling of male-dominated American academia.

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

Scott Nesbitt