Kickoff For July 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.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


Working in the shadow space program, wherein we learn about the work of Richard Passman, a General Electric engineer who worked on several secret reconnaissance and space projects in the 1960s.

The Space Shuttle Was A Beautiful – But Terrible – Idea, wherein we learn that the Space Shuttle did not deliver on its promise of numerous low-cost launches, and hear about how the program could and should have evolved.

“Space, the final frontier”: Star Trek and the national space rhetoric of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and NASA, wherein we learn of the influence that early space policy, which itself adopted the frontier metaphor, had on the development of the classic TV series.

The Dark Side of Technology

Every Place Is the Same Now, wherein Ian Bogost laments how, thanks to technology, our homes have become something that they shouldn’t really be, and have lost their original sense of purpose, creating a non place.

Lying Eyes, wherein we discover that old ideas about facial expressions, ideas which are shallow and incomplete, underlie today’s facial recognition systems, and learn about that problems that bakes into those systems.

I Must Leave My House, wherein Sean Cooper, in a piece of essay fiction, takes us on a stroll through his neighbourhood in pandemic-era Philadelphia, all under the cold gaze of surveillance cameras.


Why emojis and #hashtags should be part of language learning, wherein Heather Lotherington aruges that teachers of foreign languages should include emojis, hashtags, and other online grammars in their curricula to enable learners to lean on cross linguistic elements.

Commuting After Covid, wherein Dan Albert ponders how we’ll get around inour cities once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

Roving bandits and looted coastlines: How the global appetite for sand is fuelling a crisis, wherein we discover why the demand for sand is rising, and learn about the human and economic cost of that demand.

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

Scott Nesbitt