Kickoff For February 21, 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:


No Old Maps Actually Say ‘Here Be Dragons’, wherein we learn how ancient cartographers did mark unknown territory on their maps and that the hackneyed phrase only appears in one place — and it’s not a map.

The hand-cranked calculator invented by a Nazi concentration camp prisoner, wherein we learn about the Curta, a revolutionary portable calculator that was immensely popular from the late 1940s until the advent of portable electronic calculating devices in the early 1970s.

The lost history of the electric car – and what it tells us about the future of transport, wherein Tom Standage looks back at the genesis of electric vehicles, and how the push to shift to the electric car could mean us rethinking not just the propulsion technology that powers cars, but the whole idea of car ownership.


Can Afghanistan’s underground “sneakernet” survive the Taliban?, wherein we learn about Afghani computer kars, who sell digital media and how they had to adapt their meagre businesses when the Taliban came back into power.

The Magnificent Bribe, wherein Zachey Loeb explains why, despite outcry against a lot of them, people still embrace certain tech platforms and technologies.

Smartphones Are a New Tax on the Poor, wherein we learn that the digital divide is still with us, and that’s mainly thanks to the cost of smartphones and data plans, which many low-wage workers can barely afford.


How working unpaid hours became part of the job, wherein we learn that the perceived need to devote yourself to your job and the illusion of longer hours equaling higher productivity has kept workers at their desks for far longer each day.

Delivery Failed, where we get a look into the strange dealings, and sometimes stranger management culture, at a company that promised to build electric delivery vehicles but collapsed with huge debts and disgruntled, unpaid employees.

Why it’s so hard for US workers to ask for time off, wherein we learn about the complex mix of professional pressures and cultural mores that combine to keep US workers pinned to their desks.

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

Scott Nesbitt