Kickoff For November 15, 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:

Online Life

How We Became Infected by Chain E-Mail, wherein Kathryn Schulz examines the history of this irrational, digital annoyance and why it’s persisted as long as it has.

Inside the ‘I Bought a House At 21’ Clickbait Cottage Industry, wherein we discover why those types of articles are popular with publications, and why they generate such a strong backlash from online commenters.

Undercover at a troll farm, wherein we get an account of the experiences of an investigative reporter who was embedded in a company that ran misinformation campaigns linked to Polish political parties and the country’s state broadcaster.


Fake it till you make it, wherein we learn how the index came about, why they cause writers and publishers so much anxiety, and why they’re essential.

Field Notes of a Sentence Watcher, wherein Richard Hughes Gibson argues that books on writing may be marketed and presented as how-to manuals, they’re best received as field guides.

Move over, Microsoft Word: The race to reinvent document editing, wherein we get a closer look at office productivity tools that move away from the format of the paged document and how they might be poised to help change how we process words and collaborate.

Odds and Ends

Computer Space and beyond: 50 years of gaming, wherein we learn how a multi-billion dollar industry came about thanks to a simple computer game crafted in 1971.

The World’s Most Efficient Languages, wherein John McWhorter briefly examines some of the major and minor languages spoken in the world to try to discover which ones require the fewest words to make a point.

Is This the End of Switzerland’s Chimney Sweep ‘Mafia’?, wherein we learn a bit about the history of chimney sweeping in Switzerland and how the profession, and the monopolies around it, are changing.

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

Scott Nesbitt