Kickoff For July 24, 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:

We’re effectively alone in the Universe, and that’s OK, wherein Paul Sutter explores why we haven’t found evidence of other life in the universe, and the implications of that for us.

AI Shouldn’t Decide What’s True, wherein Mark Bailey and Susan Schneider argue that we shouldn’t look to AI-powered chatbots to be the arbiters of truth or sources of truth, and discuss the dangers of doing that.

Most humans haven’t evolved to cope with the cold, yet we dominate northern climates – here’s why, wherein Laura Buck and Kyoko Yamaguchi explain how our distant ancestors were able to survive and thrive in regions to which they were physically unsuited.

The Joy of Losing Your Phone, wherein Clare Coffey recalls leaving her smartphone in a taxi while in Mexico and how (in some ways) that was a liberating experience.

Tokyoids: The Aesthetics of Dismemberment in Japan, wherein François Blanciak explains how the idea of fragmentation is an essential part of many aspects of Japan, including aesthetics.

Skeletons in the Dungeon: Conspiracy Theory, Nationalism, and the French Revolution, wherein Nicole Bauer contrasts the climate of paranoia in post-revolution France with today’s world, and find more than a few familiar parallels.

Noise Is All around Us—and It’s Affecting You More than You Think, wherein Bojan Furst looks at the impacts and effects that noise has on the well being of humans and animals, and what can (and should) be done about it.

My Mother, the Poker Shark, wherein Ian Frisch recounts how his mother, having to resort to whatever means she could to support the family, turned to playing competitive poker full time to pay the bills.

The One Best Way Is a Trap, wherein L.M. Sacasas examines the examines the philosopher Jacques Ellul’s ideas around technique, and concludes that adopting the so-called one best way to do something is just a way of eliminating our freedom of action.

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

Scott Nesbitt