Kickoff For November 22, 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:


Japan’s love affair with the fax machine – a strange relic of technological fantasies, wherein we learn a little bit about why the fax machine has held on for so long in Japan, despite (or perhaps because of) the country’s high-tech image.

An AI expert explains why it’s hard to give computers something you take for granted: Common sense, wherein we learn why artificial intelligence systems may never be able to replicate that uniquely human trait.

When Whatsapp Went Down, Brazilian Workers’ Jobs Went With It, wherein we (once again) learn the dangers of relying on a single platform and how that can hit some of the most vulnerable people hard when the platform falters or fails.

Arts and Literature

Ebooks Are an Abomination, wherein Ian Bogost tries to explain that a love — or, in their case a hate — of ebooks is probably a function of what books mean to you, and why.

You Don’t Need To Feel Guilty About Books You Haven’t Read Yet, wherein Ferrett Steinmetz explains why you can’t read everything (in any genre of writing) and why that doesn’t mean you’re woefully unread.

The Stranger-Than-Fiction Secret History of Prog-Rock Icon Rick Wakeman, wherein we learn about the rise, the fall, and the second rise of one of rock’s most flamboyant and talented keyboard players.


Estate Planning for Humanity, wherein Jeff Hawkins suggests that creating a sustained, long-lasting signal is humanity’s best way of making its presence known to the galaxy, and to detect other intelligent species in space.

Disinformation: It’s History, wherein Heidi Tworek looks at the use of analogies and how bad analogies can aid in the creation and dissemination of disinformation.

Why Is It So Hard To Be Rational?, wherein Joshua Rothman argues that being rational isn’t just about making the correct choices, but that it also involves a deep understanding of when you’re wrong and why.

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

Scott Nesbitt