Kickoff For September 27, 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 Intelligent Forest, wherein Suzanne Simard takes us into a British Columbia forest and ponders whether tree species are linked by a network for mutual aid.

What Makes Quantum Computing So Hard to Explain?, wherein we learn that even a basic understanding of these storied devices and what they do requires a knowledge of the concepts underlying them.

How to Make Sense of Contradictory Science Papers, wherein Haixin Dang and Liam Kofi Bright explain that published scientific studies can contradict each other because publishing those studies is about saying that there is something exciting and interesting that requires further inquiry.


Lies and honest mistakes, wherein Richard V Reeves looks at how even honest journalists and careful scholars will sometimes get things wrong.

Colonialism is built on the rubble of a false idea of ancient Rome, wherein Jamie Mackay looks at the myth of a white Rome which, over the last century and a half, underpinned the justification for the aggressive imperialism of western nations.

When Graphs Are a Matter of Life and Death, wherein we learn about the history of the line graph and how it became a key tool for making pictures from numbers which offered a portal to a much deeper connection with time and distance (and more).


Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking, wherein we learn that the proximity of a mobile device (and not even using it) can have a negative effect on your thinking and focus.

In praise of habits – so much more than mindless reflexes, wherein we learn that while most of our daily routines seem reflexive, they actually display a great deal of intelligence.

The three-or-four-hours rule, wherein Oliver Burkeman explains why you can’t do work that demands serious mental focus for more than about three or four hours a day and offers advice on how to focus on that time.

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

Scott Nesbitt