Kickoff For December 4, 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.

It feels like December has come out of the blue, hasn’t it? I know I’m not alone in wondering where the rest of 2023 went. But here we are.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:

A tribute to the lost art of letter writing, wherein Robin Ashenden ponders the joys of writing, and receiving, handwritten missives from those we hold closest.

Go to Immirica, wherein we’re introduced to the history of, and myriad reasons behind, sending poison pen letters.

Why We’ll Never Live in Space, wherein Sarah Scoles looks at the various factors that will prevent long-term human habitation beyond the confines of the Earth.

Wine’s True Origins Are Finally Revealed, wherein we learn from whence the grapes used to make the popular fermented juice originated and how they spread and evolved over the centuries.

The children leaving the Mafia, wherein we learn about efforts in Italy to turn the children of organized crime families away from the family business.

Confessions of a Viral AI Writer, wherein we get something of a mea culpa from a scribe who used large language models to help her pen articles and essays, and some of her thoughts about where this is leading the craft of writing.

How Terrible Meetings Took Over Corporate America, wherein Maxwell Strachan looks at how and why the number of meetings at companies (not just American ones) have increased, and at how some companies are trying to change that.

The Man Amazon Erased, wherein we learn about Brandon Jackson, a home automation enthusiast who learned that the wonders of the so-called smart home can turn into a personal nightmare.

J.G. Ballard’s Brilliant, “Not Good” Writing, wherein Tom McCarthy looks at what makes Ballard’s writing so polarizing, factors which help make that writing work.

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

Scott Nesbitt