Kickoff For April 13, 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 seems like the news is nothing except stories about COVID-19. That volume of stories is enough to wear you down, to deflate your spirits, to numb you to the seriousness of the situation. But don’t worry. Here are a few somethings else to read, to take your mind off the current craziness. At least for a few moments.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


On Reading Issues of Wired from 1993 to 1995, wherein Anna Wiener wistfully looks back at the early days of the digital lifestyle magazine and hints at how the vision of the future put forward in its pages both became a reality and fizzled out.

Meet the pirate queen making academic papers free online, wherein we learn about Alexandra Elbakyan’s efforts to make academic research freely available, and discover something about the struggle between open access publishing and more traditional academic and scientific pubishing.

Early cloud computing was like borrowing a book from the library, wherein we dip into the what’s new is old again files and revisit the days of computer time sharing which has a remarkable similarity to what we call cloud computing today.


Is travel the secret to a long life?, wherein Paul Theroux ponders, as he travels through Mexico in his eighth decade, the rejuventating effect that travel (and not tourism) can have on us as we grow older.

Freedom of thought is under attack – here’s how to save your mind, wherein Simon McCarthy-Jones argues that tech companies and modern media are trying to hijack our thinking, and that we must use something akin to international human rights law to protect our freedom of thought from Big Tech’s onslaught.

A uniquely Japanese take on nostalgia, wherein we learn about the power of the Japanese word natsukashii and how it can evoke happiness in the minds of the people who say, think, or hear the word.


Seeing Carbon Through Silicon, wherein Anne Pasek argues that to fight climate change quickly and effectively, renewable energy must follow the same developmental template and path as computing technology.

‘Collapsologie’: Constructing an Idea of How Things Fall Apart, wherein we learn what the so-called collapsologue are about, and why we might want to take their warnings about our planet seriously.

If Only 19th-Century America Had Listened to a Woman Scientist, wherein we’re introduced to the work of Eunice Foote, who did some pioneering work into what we now call climate science, and how that work was, until very recently, lost.

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

Scott Nesbitt