Kickoff For January 8, 2024

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.

And welcome to 2024! I hope you all were able to take some time off to relax, enjoy yourselves, and spend time with those close to you.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:

Why Western democracy faces a nightmare made online, wherein we learn (yet again) how easy it is to spread lies and hate online, why politicians and political groups seize it, and how that’s a threat to elections and democracy as we know it.

My Brain Doesn’t Picture Things, wherein we learn about aphantasia, an inability to visualize the input from our senses, and about some of the misconceptions surrounding this condition.

What Happened to the Polymaths?, wherein Timothy Sandefur explains the origins of the idea of the polymath, and why people have become more specialized in their knowledge and pursuits.

Becoming James Bond, wherein we dip into the life, not always so glamorous, of Ian Fleming and discover a few new facts about the author.

The Creepy New Digital Afterlife Industry, wherein we learn about the businesses aiming to not just craft virtual memorials but to recreate deceased loved ones digitally, and the potential problems that can arise from doing that.

The weird aliens of early science fiction, wherein we learn about the fantastical extraterrestrial being that late 19th and early 20th century authors conjured up.

The People Who Don’t Read Books, wherein we learn about those who despise and denigrate books and are given good reasons to disregard anyone in the business of selling a vision who proudly proclaims they hate reading.

A Brief History of the Office Cubicle, wherein we learn how an idea for a dynamic workspace devolved into the much-hated cubicle, and how the original idea behind the cubicle might be relevant today.

Wait, what’s a bookmarklet?, wherein we learn how, in the days before add-ons and extensions, people expanded the capabilities of their web browsers using snippets of JavaScript.

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

Scott Nesbitt