Kickoff For January 24, 2022

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:


Surveillance, Companionship, and Entertainment: The Ancient History of Intelligent Machines, wherein we learn about humanity’s fascination with antonymous mechanical devices, a fascination that dates back many thousands of years.

An Unearthly Spectacle, wherein we get a detailed history of the creation and detonation of the largest nuclear weapon in history: the Soviet Union’s Tsar Bomba.

The Biro, the invention that changed the writing game, wherein we learn about how the ballpoint pen came about, and how it went from an expensive curiosity to a cheap, ubiquitous writing tool.

Online Life

The Real Benefits Of Staying Off Social Media, wherein we learn that shunning services like Twitter and Facebook can not only make use happier it also forces us to face our real-world problems.

A History of the Data-Tracked User, wherein Tanya Kant looks at the ethical issues around how commercial web platforms collect and use data, and at the long history behind it.

A young Argentine was caught in a cocaine-fueled celebrity scandal; 25 years later, Google won’t let her forget, wherein, through the story of Natalie Dengri, we learn how difficult it is for anyone to exercise their right to be (digitally) forgotten, even when they did nothing wrong in the distant past.

Odds and Ends

Americans Once Celebrated Thanksgiving with Tricks, Treats, and Mayhem, wherein we learn about Ragamuffin Day, an adjunct to Thanksgiving that was a day when New York’s children had a rare opportunity to cut loose.

Like Clockwork, wherein we learn how the standardization of time in the 19th century changed the way we look at business and fashion.

Why So Many Icelanders Still Believe In Invisible Elves, wherein we learn why over half the denizens of the volcanic island nation believe in those imaginary beings, and how that belief has been woven into everyday life.

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

Scott Nesbitt