Kickoff For May 23, 2022

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:

Politics and Government

Power and Control: Tech Billionaires in Politics, wherein Robert Winter cautions against technology moguls getting involved in politics, mainly because of their ability to use our data to profile us and target messages towards us.

How China Avoided Soviet-Style Collapse, wherein Adam Tooze examines the factors that enabled China to grow and prosper during a time of upheaval and uncertainty for Communist regimes.

Cowboy progressives, wherein Daniel J Herman argues that, contrary to their image of being staunchly right wing, denizens of the American West for the longest time embraced populist and progressive politics.

Ideas

How the World’s Languages Evolved Over Time, wherein we get introduced to something called grammaticalization, which is the strange process by which words with concrete, specific meanings transmute into the grammatical machinery of language.

The Dutch city testing the future of urban life, wherein we learn how the city of Almere is breaking away from the cookie cutter mold of urban development and design, opting for experimentation that allows residents to add their own vision to the mix.

Cultural Dopes, wherein GD Dess argues that, in artistic terms, we're living in a epoch in which everything that is “new” is simply pastiche.

History

Caesar vs Pirates, wherein we learn how being captured and held by pirates helped start to cement Julius Caesar's reputation as a leader and a military commander.

Digging Up the Rich Viking History of Britain, wherein we learn that the discovery of an ancient graveyard in an unlikely location led to archaeologists finding a previously-unknown Scandinavian settlement, a find that changed perceptions of Vikings on British soil.

Exit the Fatherland, wherein Helmut Walser Smith examines why post-World War 2 Germany took small, gradual steps to try to become a more pacific, diverse and historically honest nation.

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

Scott Nesbitt