Kickoff For September 28, 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:


Interstellar space travel will have language complications for astronauts, wherein we learn that the language used by travellers (and their descendants) on long-duration missions could change so much as to be incomprehensible to folks on the Old Planet.

Chrysler’s Radical Space Shuttle Design Was 50 Years Ahead of Its Time, wherein we get a glimpse of the radical, strange, and just plain innovative design that the automaker came up with for a reusable spacecraft.

The Trouble with Counting Alien Civilizations, wherein Caleb Sharf explains that it’s difficult, if not downright futile, to try to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations, especially when those estimates are based on how life developed on Earth.

The Dark Side of Technology

Auto Controllers, wherein we discover the world of the starter interrupt device, which lenders can use to disable someone’s car and which can be both a safety hazard and ruthless tools of financial extraction.

Who Is Responsible When Autonomous Systems Fail?, wherein Madeleine Clare Elish discusses how blame is, and can be, apportioned when automation and AI go awry.

Your data makes the web personal, wherein Christina Morillo examines the good and the bad of the personalization algorithms used online.


What the Dutch can teach the world about remote work, wherein Katie Bishop examines the cultural and technological reasons that have enabled companies and workers in the Netherlands to make remote working a more viable alternative.

The real cost of Amazon, wherein we get another look into the ecommerce giant’s warehouses, this time with a focus on how it’s reacting to both labour unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The death of the open-plan office? Not quite, but a revolution is in the air, wherein Andrew Wallace looks at the changes that open-plan offices are going through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Scott Nesbitt