Kickoff For January 25, 2021

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:

Arts and Literature

Why Goodreads is Bad for Books, wherein we learn how the book recommendation site, which started as a way to * more diverse reading*, is collapsing under its own weight.

An Obscure Road to Hollywood, wherein we discover that the image of the exploited, downtrodden writer in Hollywood of the 30s and 40s is more subtle and nuanced than we’ve been led to believe.

Nairobi Rising, wherein Nanjala Nyabola reflects on Kenya’s main city, on what it is, what it’s become, and how the city’s writers are digging out from under decades of government censorship..


The True Story of Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore, wherein Haonan Li and Victor Yaw look at some of the history if Singapore’s modern rise that aren’t widely taught or reported on.

The world’s most unlikely spy, wherein we learn about Virginia Hall, one of the most feared Allied spies in World War Two Europe who set up and ran spy networks, and who escaped the Nazis by trekking across the Pyrenees on a prosthetic leg.

Informatics of the Oppressed, wherein we learn how information technology had an impact on libraries in post-revolutionary Cuba and on academe and dissent elsewhere in Latin America.


What If Technology Belonged to the People?, wherein Edward Ongweso Jr ponders whether we can design a better system to replace a predatory and increasingly creepy system of digital capitalism.

What is a minimally good life and are you prepared to live it?, wherein Jill Lawson examines what people can justifiably aspire to as a matter of basic right.

Perfect Harmony, wherein we learn about Solfeggio frequencies and how they’re a symptom of the current embrace of pseudoscience among some people.

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

Scott Nesbitt