Kickoff For May 3, 2021

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:

History

Is Westernisation fact or fiction? The case of Japan and the US, wherein Jon Davidann argues that Japan from the 19th century onward wasn't westernized but that the Japanese looked at the West and question[ed] and critique[d], embrace[ed] and reject[ed] as they saw fit.

The Audacious Tabloid Couple Who Scammed Their Way Into New York’s High Society, wherein we learn how a pair of clever, charismatic con artists took NYC by storm, and of their sad fates.

José Epita Mbomo, the Spanish electrician who sabotaged the Nazis, wherein we hear the long-untold story of an immigrant to Spain who used his skills to thwart, in a small way, the Wehrmacht during World War Two.

Technology

Where the internet was delivered by a donkey, wherein we learn about the internet-in-a-box, which is a repositor[y] of downloaded internet content that can be accessed by offline communities and how it's being used in Kyrgyzstan (and elsewhere).

From Tech Critique to Ways of Living, wherein Alan Jacobs ponders breaking our of the scary, invasive walled gardens of big technology firms and opting instead for the cultivation of the “digital commons” of the open web.

Platform Capitalism, Empire and Authoritarianism: Is There a Way Out?, wherein David Murakami Wood posits that giant digital platforms have too much power and influence over all aspects of our personal, political, and economic lives.

Odds and Ends

A joyless trudge? No, thanks: why I am utterly sick of ‘going for a walk’, wherein Canadian expat Monica Heisey ponders, and is puzzled by, the English obsession of walking as a pastime.

I’ve Lost My Identity’: On the Mysteries of Foreign Accent Syndrome, wherein Roger Kreuz and Richard Roberts briefly looks at why FAS occurs, the effect on those afflicted with it, and how *our self-concept is intimately tied up with how we speak and how we sound to others.”

Roadside Picnics: Chernobyl UFOs & The Falcon Lake Incident, wherein Darmon Richter looks at the parallel UFO cultures that have developed in two very different places but which share some similarities.

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

Scott Nesbitt