Kickoff For February 6, 2023

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:

Apartheid by Algorithm, wherein we learn that, thanks to powerful yet flawed financial software, people (notably in South Africa) are being denied credit or loans because new algorithmic scoring technologies amplify inequalities of race and class.

Memory problems during the pandemic? It’s just your brain trying to distinguish one day from the next, wherein we learn a potential reason many people don’t remember much from COVID-19 lockdowns: the lack of significant day-to-day transitions, which affect our brains’ ability to form distinct memories.

Colonizing the Cosmos: Astor’s Electrical Future, wherein we learn about the science fiction novel penned by one of the late 19th century’s richest people, which describes in detail a world awash in renewable energy and one run by colonial empires.

How to become an expert, wherein we’re introduced to a framework that can help effectively guide us towards mastery, although we’ll still need to do the hard work to get there.

The Dream of Digital Homesteading, wherein we’re introduced to (yet another) digital world, this one called Urbit, in which we may become smallholders on a new digital frontier.

Our Food System Could Have Been So Different, wherein Sarah Laskow looks at an alternative path that American agriculture could have taken, an agriculture that consisted of a diverse set of prairie plants that were cultivated as sources of food.

“The Mafia of the Acting World”: Hollywood’s Secret Loop Groups, wherein we enter the secretive and competitive world of loopers, voice actors who add background talk to TV shows and movies, a lucrative job which not all that many people know about or fully understand.

The Battle for the Soul of the Web, wherein we get a glimpse into the state of the struggle to create a decentralized web, one independent of (or, at least, with as little influence from) tech giants like Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon.

The Overlooked Titan of Social Media, wherein Kevin Lozano argues that the massive video site set the stage for what social media platforms like TweetBook and InstaTok became (and, in doing so, eclipsed YouTube).

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

Scott Nesbitt