Kickoff For April 26, 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.

It’s a holiday Monday down in my part of the world, but I’m not slacking off. See? I do care!

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


The less equal we become, the less we trust science, and that’s a problem, wherein Tony Ward briefly explores why trust in science is dipping and why that’s becoming a major problem.

How Intelligent Could Life Be Without Natural Selection?, wherein Arik Kershenbaum ponders whether intelligence, and the ability to bypass natural selection, [can] also bypass the limits that the natural world imposes?

How lightning strikes could explain the origin of life—on Earth and elsewhere, wherein Neel V. Patel looks at how lightning could have been a literal spark of life on the primordial Earth, and discusses the consequences that could have for the search for extraterrestrial life.


Recommended Writing, wherein Crystal Chokshi looks at predictive text algorithms and the negative effects that those algorithms have on writing (and more).

How to poison the data that Big Tech uses to surveil you, wherein Karen Hao looks at movements to deprive the algorithms deployed by tech giants of meaningful data and how they can help return some control to us.

Why France’s new ‘repairability index’ is a big deal, wherein we learn how a move by the French government to fight planned obsolescence of electronics might influence companies to make devices we can actually repair.


The joys of being an absolute beginner – for life, wherein Tom Vanderbilt looks at the struggles, the joys, and the benefits of learning regardless of your age and whether or not you become good at what you’re trying to learn.

Thirteen to One, wherein Marie Mutsuki Mockett looks at her relationship with, and experience of, Japanese culture through the lens of the country’s myths and folklore.

The milk of human genius, wherein Lesley Hughes surveys the landscape of companies large and small developing plant-based alternatives to dairy products and how they have the potential to upend the food industry.

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

Scott Nesbitt