Kickoff For February 17, 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.

It’s been another week which has been something of a meat grinder. But I was still able to pull together this week’s Kickoff. That’s an achievement (however small), isn’t it?

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:

Online Life

The good internet is history, wherein Phillip Maciak laments the passing of several groundbreaking online publications, and ponders what (if anything) will take their places.

I Quit Social Media for a Year and Nothing Magical Happened, wherein Josh C. Simmons looks back at how and why he dumped Facebook and Twitter, his struggles in doing so, and what he got out of turning his back on social media.

Please, My Digital Archive. It’s Very Sick, wherein Tanner Howard ponders the problems that face people trying to preserve their online presences, some of which don’t have to to with the technology.


Why learning a new language is like an illicit love affair, wherein Marianna Pogosyan explains the emotions and frustrations involved in trying to learn another language, and how that process can subtly change the way in which we communicate in our native tongues.

Ghost Notes, wherein Meredyth Cole ponders the role of smell in forming memories, and the difficulties of doing that on the internet which has no discernable scent.

Citizens need to know numbers, wherein David Spiegelhalter argues the everyone needs some degree of statistical literacy to make sense of, and (when necessary) call BS on, all the data that comes our way.

Odds and Ends

We were supposed to be living in pod houses, wherein Hanson O’Haver looks back at the Futuro house, a flying saucer-shaped habitat, and explores why it never caught on.

Why the world is running out of sand, wherein we discover why the sand used in construction and manufacturing has become such a valuable commodity, and how collecting the good stuff has major environmental and economic consequences.

Churches and States, wherein we dip into the what’s new is old again file and learn that the ideas and arguments and objections around the rebuilding of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris are very much like the ones around similar reconstruction efforts in the past.

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

Scott Nesbitt