Kickoff For June 29, 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.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:

Business and Economics

This backpack has it all: Kevlar, batteries, and a federal investigation, wherein we’re left to wonder whether Doug Monahan, the man behind the iBackpack crowdfunding fiasco, is an unlucky serial entrepreneur or a serial scammer.

Science for Sale, wherein we see, yet again, how corporations use mercenary scientists to pervert and deny actual science to preserve their profits at the expense of employees and consumers.

Newly Minted, wherein Gaby Del Valle argues that many of the new financial technology startups are nothing more than thinly-disguised payday lenders that target the poor and indebted.


Death on Mars, wherein astrobiologist Caleb A. Scharf explains that among all the challenges facing colonists on Mars, the amount of radiation the planet is exposed to could be the biggest challenge to overcome.

A deep dive into the Apollo Guidance Computer, and the hack the saved Apollo 14, wherein we get a very close look at how the computer that took astronauts to the Moon worked, and how mission controllers got around a serious problem that could have scuttled Apollo 14’s landing.

In space, no one can hear you kernel panic, wherein we learn how NASA, not willing to take chances with automated and crewed missions, included multiple redundant computer systems in its probes and spacecraft. Just in case.


An atomic marker hidden in plain sight, wherein we visit a section of Santa Fe, New Mexico which was the gateway to the site at which American scientists created the first atomic weapons.

How The CIA Found A Soviet Sub — Without The Soviets Knowing, wherein we learn how the American spy organization teamed up with Howard Hughes to undertake one of the great heists of the 20th century: salvaging a Soviet attack submarine from the bottom of the ocean.

Welcome to Jáchymov: the Czech town that invented the dollar, wherein we take a trip to teh town which created the unit of currency that inspired the dollar but which, ironically, doesn’t accept U.S. dollars.

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

Scott Nesbitt