Kickoff For April 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.

Another week under COVID-19 lockdown begins. It hasn’t been easy for anyone, but the alternative is a lot worse. Here’s my attempt to help you weather the isolation and to feed your brain with something a bit different. Enjoy!

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


A Brutal Murder, a Wearable Witness, and an Unlikely Suspect, wherein we learn how data from a FitBit was a key in charging an elderly man with the murder of his step daughter, and discover how unreliable that information can actually be.

I spent years scalping tickets and evading police. My journey to hell and back, wherein we hear the tale of how, as a young Mormon questioning his faith, the author got involved in illegally selling event tickets around the globe, and what made him abandon that life.

The Bicycle Thief, wherein we learn how an Olympic track cycling hopeful lost his way and and embarked on a four year spree of robbing banks, using his bicycle as a getaway vehicle.


Classics for the people, wherein Edith Hall shows us how working class people in Victorian England and later were able to gain elements of a classical education thanks to free elementary education and museums, cheap printing, and a desire for self improvement.

How New York’s Bagel Union Fought — and Beat — a Mafia Takeover, wherein we learn how a group of scrappy, unionized bagel makers in New York in the 1960s managed to stave off the advances of the local mob, but which later folded under the pressures of automation and modernization.

The ghostly radio station that no one claims to run, wherein we enter the shadowy, and sometimes creepy, world of numbers stations, discover how they came about, and that they’re still being used today.

Odds and Ends

Feeling Lucky? A Brief History of Gambling with Dice, wherein mathematician Ian Stewart looks at one of the most popular and enduring ways people try, and have tried, to cheat and beat the gods of probability.

Living with ADHD: how I learned to make distraction work for me, wherein Sarah Stein Lubrano reasons that gamifying education (and other tasks) that require long periods of focus can help people with ADHD, and others, to become better learners and more productive.

The man who made Wolfenstein, wherein we learn the story of forgotten computer game pioneer Silas Warner, his groundbreaking work, and how he never reaped the financial rewards or accolades he deserved.

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

Scott Nesbitt