Kickoff for June 7, 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:


The people’s ambassadress: the forgotten diplomacy of Ivy Litvinov, wherein we learn about the charismatic English woman and how she became the Soviet Union’s unofficial English-speaking hostess.

The Royal Spy Who Became the Feminist Answer to Shakespeare, wherein we learn about Aphra Behn who, in addition to being a spy for King Charles II, was also one of the first women anywhere in the world to make a living as a writer.

Propagating Propaganda: Franklin Barrett’s Red, White, and Blue Liberty Bond Carp, wherein we learn why and how a fish breeder from Philadelphia bred a patriotic carp towards the end of World War One.

The Dark Side of Technology

‘Smart’ Cities Are Surveilled Cities, wherein we learn that so-called smart cities the world over collect more data than we realize and how that data can be used against us.

Why Democracy Needs Privacy, wherein Carissa Véliz explains that privacy matters because the lack of it gives others power over you.

Digital colonialism: the evolution of American empire, wherein Michael Kwet argues that Big Tech is not only global in scope, it is fundamentally colonial in character and dominated by the United States.


Uncanny Valets, wherein Amanda Rees looks at the attitudes towards machine intelligence in the East and West, and tries to explain the differences.

Kinds of Potential, wherein Venkatesh Rao examines various kinds of potential, what they mean to him, and what they can mean to us.

How a ‘beginners’ mindset’ can help you learn anything, wherein we discover the joys of engage in learning for learning’s sake.

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

Scott Nesbitt