Kickoff For June 5, 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:

When a marathon isn’t extreme enough, run backward, wherein we’re introduced to some of the offbeat ways in which a small number of runners make competing in marathons more challenging (and more fun).

There Is No AI, wherein Jaron Lanier argues that the technology that we call artificial intelligence isn’t, and instead is an innovative form of social collaboration.

Drivers vs. Everybody, wherein Michelle Cyca looks at the difficulties — both political and cultural — involved in making city roads friendly to cars, bicycles, and pedestrians alike.

How physicist Sameera Moussa went from a role model to a target, wherein we learn about the crusading Egyptian scientist who tried to use atomic energy for good and made efforts to involve the public in that choice, and about her mysterious death.

‘My remaining 13 million minutes’: productivity, ambition and being realistic in older age, wherein Jane Hutcheon ponders what it means to be productive as we get older, and whether or not exiting work (rather than continuing to work) in our later years is actually giving up.

Also Italian, wherein Dylan Byron describes the political friction in the city of Trieste in the last century, and how Italian was one of the most important, and perhaps the most important, of the three main languages spoken there.

Conspiracies are the price of freedom, wherein Terry Eagleton argues that the growth and spread of outlandish conspiracy theories is a by-product of liberalism, and because of that the truth (and not those theories) eventually wins out.

We’re All Living Under Gravity’s Rainbow, wherein John Semley argues that Thomas Pynchon’s best-known novel, despite being 50 years old, is a field guide to modern times and a must-read to understand our era.

Pick a Practical Major, Like French, wherein Freddie deBoer looks at what people perceive as a practical major at university, and how that definition is constantly morphing.

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

Scott Nesbitt