Kickoff For March 16, 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.

Something you’re not going to find in this space is one or more links to a certain virus that’s stomping on the world at the moment. There’s so much information, good and bad, out there about this situation that me linking to any of doesn’t do much good. Just remember not to panic and to take steps to protect yourself and those around you folks.

I know you have it in you to be sensible. Don’t let me down.

With that out of the way, let’s get this Monday started with these links:


AIM was the killer app of 1997. It’s still shaping the internet today, wherein we discover how the once-ubiquitous messaging tool became the template for not just the other instant messaging apps that followed, but also for how software developers and designers approached user experience.

Thanks for inspiring a generation of pointless gadgets, Keurig, wherein the creator of the coffee maker is taken to task for inspiring a whack of wasteful devices that require even more products to make it functional.

How The Invention Of Spreadsheet Software Unleashed Wall Street On The World, wherein we discover how a tool that was intended to save time and effort turned into an unstable and unreliable financial weapon.


It’s Time To Talk About Solar Geoengineering, wherein we’re introduced to the concept of solar geoengineering, and learn why in some circles it’s considered one of the keys to fighting climate change.

Forest for the Trees, wherein Rosa Boshier explains that the idea of nature is a multi-faceted one, and that no matter where we are or what we think, we’re often within nature.

To decarbonize we must decomputerize: why we need a Luddite revolution, wherein Ben Tarnoff looks at how the world’s hunger for data is helping to warm the planet (in a bad way) and argues that not all spheres of life should be rendered into data and computed upon.

Odds and Ends

My fancy smartphone could never give me what the landline gave my grandmother, wherein Manavi Kapur recalls how a landline telephone gave her grandmother and her grandmother’s sisters a strong familial bond, despite the physical distances between them.

Recorded for Quality Assurance, wherein Camilla Cannon explains that the monitoring of customer service calls has as much to do with surveillance as it does with improving customer service.

The Day I Found Out My Father Was a Spy, wherein Steve Healey recounts the effects of that revelation on his family, and how he used writing poetry to make some sense of it.

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

Scott Nesbitt