Kickoff For February 1, 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.

On the first week back at The Day JobTM post Christmas, a co-worker idly commented that January was almost half over. She wasn’t kidding. Now, here we are in February. A fresh month, and something of a fresh start.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


Mars Is a Second-Rate Backup Plan, wherein Caleb Scharf argues that colonizing the solar system’s fourth planet might not be the secure existential hedge-fund that some visionaries make it out to be.

An Atlas of the Cosmos, wherein we’re taken on a tour of the astronomical project trying to piece together the most complete map yet of the universe and to try to uncover some fundamental truths about the universe.

The Eternal Silence of Infinite Space, wherein Bryan Appleyard examines our fascination with trying to discover extraterrestrial life and how close we may be to finding signs of it.


130 Degrees, wherein Bill McKibben looks at whether or not humans can survive climate change, and comes to a sobering conclusion about that.

Shifting Baselines, wherein Callum Roberts takes us on a tour of some large swathes of coral reef and looks at what climate change is doing to those reefs and the effect that has on the rest of the world.

Fossil Fuels and the American Way of Death, wherein David Lapp Jost looks at the various ways, some not all that obvious, in which the fossil fuel industry is harming and killing us.


Lord of Misrule: Thomas Morton’s American Subversions, wherein we learn about Merrymount, a little-known early American colony that bore witness to a strange and beautiful alternative dream of what America could have been.

Pez article, wherein we learn how the beloved candy tablets came about, mainly because Americans weren’t interested in quitting smoking.

‘Stores the Road Passes Through’: The Drive-In Markets of the 1920s, wherein we learn about the development of Ye Market Place, an early shopping centre in Glendale, California, that became the template for others to come.

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

Scott Nesbitt