The Monday Kickoff

Start your week with nine curated reads, served fresh each Monday

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.

That tempus does fugit. I'm still not believing that April's rolled into town. While that's happening, down here in New Zealand summer seems to be trying to hold on for dear life. What a wacky world we live in.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

History

What shaped E P Thompson, historian and champion of working people?, wherein Priya Satia explores how a historian with quite the cosmopolitan background became a proponent and chronicler of history from below.

The Hidden History of the First Black Women to Serve in the U.S. Navy, wherein we learn about the Golden Fourteen, a group of black women who worked in the US Naval Reserve in World War One and how their story has almost been forgotten.

The Future Encyclopedia of Luddism, wherein we're treated to an alternative history in which the Luddites succeeded and how that might not have been a bad thing.

Space

The New History of the Milky Way, wherein we learn how scientists, using new data, were able to paint a sharper, more accurate picture of our galaxy's history.

Apes, robots and men: the life and death of the first space chimp, wherein we learn a bit about how animals were used as proxies during the early space race, and how that fuelled an ongoing battle among both Soviet and US astronauts about how much autonomy they would have as pilots.

Mars is a Hellhole, wherein Shannon Stirone outlines why humans shouldn't colonize the Red Planet.

Odds and Ends

It's time to retire the Doomsday Clock, wherein Shannon Osaka argues that the famed warning published by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has outlived it purpose and usefulness.

Pellet Ice Is the Good Ice, wherein Helen Rosner pens a paen to ice — not the stuff that comes out of our freezers and mundane ice makers, but the really good ice at the pinnacle of which she places pellet ice.

On Running, wherein Larissa Pham ponders why she runs and her relationship with the act of rapidly putting one foot in front of another.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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:

Productivity

In Defense of Doing Nothing, wherein Apoorva Tadepalli posits that instead of jumping on the productivity treadmill, maybe we should take the time to experiment with nothingness, with a failure of productivity

How too much mindfulness can spike anxiety, wherein we learn how the highly-touted practice can actually have negative effects on our bodies and minds.

Stateless, wherein Leo Babauta looks at a way to reduce the overwhelm and help us to focus on the present.

Technology

The Melancholy of New Media, wherein Tung-Hui Hu muses upon the impermanence of digital media, which seems to fade faster than the physical media it's supposed to replace.

The Code That Controls Your Money, wherein we learn how a programming language created in the 1960s still powers so many critical financial systems and why it hasn't been replaced by more modern, flashier languages.

How Empathy and Creativity Can Re-humanise Videoconferencing, wherein Robert O'Toole ponders the current state (both technological and ethical) of videoconferencing tools and posits how they can be better.

Odds and Ends

What We Owe Our Whistleblowers, wherein Joseph Sorrentino looks at one of the factors that stops potential a whistleblower from taking action and that it's not always fear of retaliation.

How a Nuclear Submarine Officer Learned to Live in Tight Quarters, wherein Steve Weiner explains how his experience as a nuclear submariner is helping him deal with COVID isolation in Turkey.

The Green Fuse in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, wherein Regan Good decides to finally explore the natural world around her New York City home, and we learn what she discovered.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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:

Science

Over Time, Buddhism and Science Agree, wherein biologist David P. Barash examines the Buddhist concept of anitya and how it relates to his discipline.

The Evolution Of A Special Species, wherein Lesley Newson explores the idea (which is gaining popularity once again) that human evolution is a result of a combination of genetics and culture.

Quantum philosophy: 4 ways physics will challenge your reality, wherein Peter Evans looks at how, when pondering quantum theory we're forced to rethink the way the world fundamentally works.

Online Life

The Grift of Online Entrepreneurship, wherein Brett Nelson looks at the so-called coaches and gurus offering a path to riches online and the bill of goods they're selling.

Search Engines Don't Work and They Are Not Good, wherein Christopher Butler looks at how we find and amass information, and that relying on search engines like Google's to supply us with that information puts us at their mercy.

A Vast Web of Vengeance, wherein we learn how easy it is for someone to post slanderous and damaging posts about someone else online but how hard it is to get those posts removed.

Business and Economics

How Amazon Destroys the Intellectual Justifications for Capitalism, wherein we learn how the ecommerce giant willingly bends laws to compete with rivals and drive them out of business or off its platform.

At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan—and Her Own Grandsons, wherein we learn how greed and ambition helped create a huge rift in a wealthy family.

Out of Options, wherein Alexander Sammon discusses how they got into day trading and how they learned that the market is stacked against the small investor.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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:

Environment

The Planet Needs a New Internet, wherein Maddie Stone looks at the current state of the internet and concludes that to make it sustainable we’ll need to harden and relocate the infrastructure we’ve built, find cleaner ways to power the web, and reimagine how we interact with the digital world.

The Climate Crisis Is Worse Than You Can Imagine. Here’s What Happens If You Try, wherein we learn about Peter Kalmus and how his obsession with climate changes has changed his life and that of his family, sometimes not in a good way.

Can the Internet Survive Climate Change?, wherein Kevin Lozano looks at how the internet is likely to face changes to its basic infrastructure that will be both sweeping and hard to predict.

Work

Why self-compassion – not self-esteem – leads to success, wherein we learn that beating ourselves up after making mistakes doesn't drive us to improve, but quite the opposite.

The Intentional Precarity Of Gig Work In America, wherein Hillel Aron looks at the gig economy and learns the feeling of not knowing whether a night’s work will cover your bills is a common one among gig workers in America.

The Silicon Valley Economy Is Here. And It’s a Nightmare., wherein we're introduced to the idea that the so-called gig economy is a window into a nightmare vision of what the world would look like if it were run by our digital overlords.

Ideas

Decelerate Now, wherein Gavin Mueller argues that slowing down so-called technical innovation not only benefit workers affected by new technologies but also all of society.

The high price of broadband is keeping people offline during the pandemic, wherein Eileen Guo ponders whether the digital divide exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic is one that can be fixed with more infrastructure, or one that requires social programs to address affordability and adoption gaps?

A Simple Way to Reduce Cognitive Bias, wherein we learn that paying attention to the details of your environment can make you a little more rational.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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 we're back! Great to see you all again after that enforced break seven days ago. Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Technology

Digging your own digital grave: how should you manage the data you leave behind?, wherein we learn how important it is to secure our privacy online not just for now but for after our deaths.

Imagine There's No Drivers, wherein Jim Motavalli muses about the future of autonomous vehicles and how they might reshape life in cities.

What Was BeOS, and Why Did People Love It?, wherein we learn about an operating system from the 1990s that could have rivalled Windows and MacOS, and why it didn't.

Business and Economics

The Second Career of Michael Riegels, wherein we learn about the English barrister who helped turn the British Virgin Islands into a tax haven and learn about the consequences of doing that.

How young workers are changing the rules of 'business speak', wherein we see how older and younger employees need to work together to find a middle ground in the way in which they communicate in the workplace.

Startup “Cults”, wherein Adam Willems argues that using the term cult to describe tech firms is both innacurate and only offers a fleeting, holier-than-thou catharsis to those who utter it.

Odds and Ends

The Man Who Found Forrest Fenn's Treasure, wherein we learn how a young medical student cracked the code leading to the location of an art dealer's buried treasure, and about the hell that broke loose because of that find.

If Proust Ate Pringles — On Memory, Loss, and the Persistence of Heineken, wherein Eoghan Walsh has a Proustian moment of involuntary memory recall about this childhood, and realizes how his experiences of parenting and my work around beer are connected.

A Longing for the Lost Landline, wherein Roger Cohen pens a paen to a time when we weren't, and weren't expected to be, constantly connected.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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.

There won't be an edition of the Monday Kickoff next week. I'm staring down the barrels of several deadlines and won't have time to prepare a new edition. Check this space on March 8.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Arts and Literature

Interpreting America at the Minsk Book Fair, wherein travel writer Doug Mack discusses his time in the Belarusian capital, at the behest of the U.S. Department of State, and his attempts to understand the country while trying to explain America to the locals while explaining the struggles of being a travel writer.

Why I Write Novels, wherein Amit Chaudhuri looks at his own work and ponders the thin line between fiction influenced by one's life and memoir.

The Politics of Thrilers, wherein Praveen Tummalapalli looks at the popularity of spy novels and how they can be a powerful tool to spread political messages.

Online Life

How SEO is Gentrifying the Internet, wherein Nick Slater (rightly so) rails against search engine optimization, and how it's letting the World Wide Web turn into a glum, soulless suburb filled with content rather than useful information.

The Organic Myth, wherein Dr. Elinor Carmi argues that the online feeds we consume on a daily basis are more engineered than organic, regardless of what we're told.

This used to be our playground, wherein Simon Collison remembers a web where true creativity bloomed, but which is now rarely a sandbox for us to climb into and make mad shit.

Ideas

Recognise the creativity behind crime, then you can thwart it, wherein David Cropley looks at how creativity can be used for ends good and bad, and how to recognize negative creativity.

Towards a Cultural History of Plexiglass, wherein Shannon Mattern explores how the almost ubiquitous acrylic morphed from being a wonder material to becoming a form of separation and control.

The lost art of having a chat: what happened when I stopped texting and started talking, wherein Rebecca Nicholson decided to use her phone to talk rather than to text or DM to see if it would change my relationships, particularly the ones I had grown lazy about maintaining.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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:

Technology

Death of a Smart City, wherein we learn how a Google-backed project to create an overly-networked neighbourhood in Toronto scuttled by its opponents, and (in some small way) from within.

The 100-Year History of Self-Driving Cars, wherein we learn that the idea behind self-driving cars is nothing new, and how the mistakes of the past are informing the creation of tomorrow's autonomous vehicles.

Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing, wherein Jesse Frederik looks at blockchain, the technology and people behind it, and the proposed applications for it, and comes away unimpressed.

Writing

Many writers say they can actually hear the voices of their characters – here's why, wherein we learn how inner speech in the minds of fiction writers becomes the voices of the characters they've created.

Notes on Notes, wherein Mary Cappello ponders the ideas of notes and note taking, and how they're minor literary forms in themselves.

Substack isn't a new model for journalism – it’s a very old one, wherein once again we dip into the what's new is old again files and learn that the popular email newsletter service has several historical precedents.

Productivity

Time Is Not a Measure of Productivity, wherein Anne-Laure Le Cunff looks at remote work versus being in the office and concludes working from home will result in more impactful work and happier work conditions.

How To Do The Thing You're Avoiding, wherein Leo Babauta offers some advice to help you tackle the tasks that you don't want to tackle.

How to take notes while reading a book, wherein Anne-Laure Le Cunff offers advice on how to do that without going overboard or losing the joy and flow of reading.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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:

Business and Economics

Why Can’t I Fix My Own Phone, Toaster, or Tractor?, wherein Jon Keegan looks at why device manufacturers don't want people repairing the gear that they nominally own, and concludes that manufacturers look at the service phase of the device life as a huge profit center.

Uber made big promises in Kenya. Drivers say it's ruined their lives, wherein we learn how the ride sharing platform's ruthless and capricious business model is causing hardship for unwitting drivers in the African nation.

China’s Radical New Vision Of Globalization, wherein we learn about Beijing's dual circulation economic strategy which is, despite what China's leaders say, is a departure from the country's previous moves.

The Dark Side of Technology

‘Like Being Grilled Alive’: the Fear of Living With a Hackable Heart, wherein ... explores the wonders and the dangers of connected medical devices, especially ones implanted in our bodies.

The Zoom Gaze, wherein Autumm Caines looks at videoconferencing and concludes that it makes us more conscious of how visibility is mediated by technologies.

The Xinjiang Data Police, wherein we learn how and why the Chinese government hired and trained close to 100,000 people in predominantly Muslim areas of the country to digitally spy and report on their fellows.

Odds and Ends

Fungi, Folklore, and Fairyland, wherein Mike Jay looks at the recorded history of psychedelic mushrooms in Britain and how they could have been the fuel for the nation's fairy mythology.

Engels — the communist as hedonist, wherein we learn about the conflicting sides of the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, which he seemed to effortlessly shift between.

The veteran spy plane too valuable to replace, wherein we learn how the U2, first designed and built in the 1950s, has survived and is still relevant today.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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.

On the first week back at The Day JobTM post Christmas, a co-worker idly commented that January was almost half over. She wasn't kidding. Now, here we are in February. A fresh month, and something of a fresh start.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Space

Mars Is a Second-Rate Backup Plan, wherein Caleb Scharf argues that colonizing the solar system's fourth planet might not be the secure existential hedge-fund that some visionaries make it out to be.

An Atlas of the Cosmos, wherein we're taken on a tour of the astronomical project trying to piece together the most complete map yet of the universe and to try to uncover some fundamental truths about the universe.

The Eternal Silence of Infinite Space, wherein Bryan Appleyard examines our fascination with trying to discover extraterrestrial life and how close we may be to finding signs of it.

Environment

130 Degrees, wherein Bill McKibben looks at whether or not humans can survive climate change, and comes to a sobering conclusion about that.

Shifting Baselines, wherein Callum Roberts takes us on a tour of some large swathes of coral reef and looks at what climate change is doing to those reefs and the effect that has on the rest of the world.

Fossil Fuels and the American Way of Death, wherein David Lapp Jost looks at the various ways, some not all that obvious, in which the fossil fuel industry is harming and killing us.

History

Lord of Misrule: Thomas Morton’s American Subversions, wherein we learn about Merrymount, a little-known early American colony that bore witness to a strange and beautiful alternative dream of what America could have been.

How Pez Evolved From an Anti-Smoking Tool to a Beloved Collector’s Item, wherein we learn how the beloved candy tablets came about, mainly because Americans weren't interested in quitting smoking.

'Stores the Road Passes Through': The Drive-In Markets of the 1920s, wherein we learn about the development of Ye Market Place, an early shopping centre in Glendale, California, that became the template for others to come.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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:

Arts and Literature

Why Goodreads is Bad for Books, wherein we learn how the book recommendation site, which started as a path to more diverse reading, is collapsing under its own weight.

An Obscure Road to Hollywood, wherein we discover that the image of the exploited, downtrodden writer in Hollywood of the 30s and 40s is more subtle and nuanced than we've been led to believe.

Nairobi Rising, wherein Nanjala Nyabola reflects on Kenya's main city, on what it is, what it's become, and how the city's writers are digging out from under decades of government censorship..

History

The True Story of Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore, wherein Haonan Li and Victor Yaw look at some of the history if Singapore's modern rise that aren't widely taught or reported on.

The world’s most unlikely spy, wherein we learn about Virginia Hall, one of the most feared Allied spies in World War Two Europe who set up and ran spy networks, and who escaped the Nazis by trekking across the Pyrenees on a prosthetic leg.

Informatics of the Oppressed, wherein we learn how information technology had an impact on libraries in post-revolutionary Cuba and on academe and dissent elsewhere in Latin America.

Ideas

What If Technology Belonged to the People?, wherein Edward Ongweso Jr. ponders whether we can design a better system to replace a predatory and increasingly creepy system of digital capitalism.

What is a minimally good life and are you prepared to live it?, wherein Jill Lawson examines what people can justifiably aspire to as a matter of basic right.

Perfect Harmony, wherein we learn about Solfeggio frequencies and how they're a symptom of the current embrace of pseudoscience among some people.

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

Scott Nesbitt

Enter your email to subscribe to updates.