Kickoff For March 4, 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.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:

Inside the secret complex making high-tech gadgets for UK spies, wherein Gordon Corera takes us into a British government facility at Hanslope Park, where top-secret devices are developed but we never discover what those devices are …

Digital memories are disappearing and not even AI or Google can help, wherein we learn about the transience (thanks to outdated file formats) of digital assets, and the problems of remembering where everything that we created and collect is.

A Pint for the Alewives, wherein we learn about how the brewing and selling of beer was once dominated by women, why it was a revolutionary trade for them, and why that changed.

The Vela Incident: Nuclear Bombs vs. Asteroid Collisions, wherein we learn about a large, unexplained flash in a southern ocean back in 1979 for which there still is no agreed-upon origin, but one which has excited much speculation over the decades.

He Steals Them, of Course!, wherein we learn about Thomas James Wise, a once-celebrated bibliophile who turned out to be a notorious forger of Victorian first editions.

Finance fraud is not a deviation from the norm but a reflection of it, wherein Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou argues that financial malfeasance today reflects our age of the blurring between reality and the made up.

‘I repeatedly failed to win any awards’: my doomed career as a North Korean novelist, wherein Kim Ju-sŏng recounts his attempts at navigating the complex, and dangerous, literary world of the Hermit Kingdom and why that was even more difficult for him.

Apocalypse-Proof, wherein we learn about the origins and uses of a Brutalist skyscraper in New York City, and why it (and buildings like it) became a symbol of state power and of conspiracy theories.

Cop Cities in a Militarized World, wherein we learn about the widespread killings of people defending lands and human rights, and the role that the United States has had in the spread of this kind of violence — including on home soil.

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

Scott Nesbitt