Kickoff For October 18, 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:

Business and Economics

Kenya’s first smart city promised everything. 13 years on, it’s still a construction site, wherein we learn about the grand plans for Konza City, a proposed tech hub that, after almost a decade and a half years, isn’t near completion, let alone close to fulfilling any of its promise.

Why most gas stations don’t make money from selling gas, wherein Zachary Crockett explains that fuel is often a loss leader for gas station owners, and that the real money is made inside the store.

Contrary to popular and academic belief, Adam Smith did not accept inequality as a necessary trade-off for a more prosperous economy, wherein Deborah Boucoyannis argues that the Scottish political economist was against the the concentration of wealth, and that his work indicates that profits should be low and labor wages high.


The Logic of Corporate Accounting Took Over Our Language, and We Hardly Noticed, wherein Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein looks at how the concept of return on investment began being applied to all aspects of our lives and how that ejected complicated, ethical negotiations for the narrow certainty of finance.

I’m a Luddite. You should be one too, wherein Jathan Sadowski explains what a Luddite actually is (and it’s not what many people think), and why that’s a good belief to hold.

Why is the English spelling system so weird and inconsistent?, wherein we learn that the language’s strange, and often illogical, spelling and pronunciation systems came about thanks to the printed word, which came to prominence at a time when the norms linking spoken and written language were up for grabs.


Blogging is dead. Long live blogging. Or, why the Substack hype is much ado about very little, wherein Dan Kennedy argues that if you strip away the hype, the popular email newsletter platform is, in fact, just a new twist on blogging.

Notes on Craft, wherein Lauren Elkin explains the importance of keeping a journal to her writing, and how that journal has moved from being analog to one of the digital variety.

Machine writing is closer to literature’s history than you know, wherein Yohei Igarashi points out that writing done by artificial intelligence should be familiar to us since we’ve relied on probable language for much of human history.

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

Scott Nesbitt