Kickoff For December 26, 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.

What do you know? Another year is about to shut its doors. We’ve still got a few more days left in 2022, though. If you celebrate the Silly Season, I hope it’s going well for you. If you don’t, I hope that at least you’ve been able to take some time off to relax.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:

The Quest for Fusion Energy, wherein Daniel Jassby argues that even with the advances in technology and science around fusion energy, practical and viable fusion reactors may never come to be.

A Good Memory or a Bad One? One Brain Molecule Decides, wherein we learn about the actual mechanism out brains use to lock in experiences as good or bad memories, depending on our emotional state at the time those memories are formed.

Remembering When America Banned Sliced Bread, wherein we learn about the short-lived World War Two rationing measure that was implemented to save waxed paper and the steel used to make bread slicers, as well as the backlash that resulted.

The Collectors Who Save Video-Game History from Oblivion, wherein we discover the efforts of a group of people deeply fascinated by older games who are trying to preserve those games and to chronicle their history.

We Living Things Are an Accident of Space and Time, wherein Alan Lightman argues that our existence, and our universe itself, is simply an accident, one throw of the cosmic dice.

Of War and Electric Death: A Brief History of Push-Button Anxiety, wherein Rachel Plotnick looks at the fears people once had of buttons, specifically ones that they imagined offered calculated control to create or destroy.

I Went to Trash School, wherein we follow Clio Chang on the training course for New York City sanitation workers, and learn the intricacies of a job most people don’t think about.

Fair Game, wherein David Golumbia looks at the uses, abuses, and dangers of, and ethical considerations around web scraping.

Masters of Crowds: The Rise of Mass Social Engineering, wherein Robert Gehl and Sean Lawson examine the rise of social engineering in the early 20TH century, the problems it purported to solve, and the problems that the discipline caused.

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

Scott Nesbitt