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.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Ideas

Attention is not a resource but a way of being alive to the world, wherein Dan Nixon argues that far from being something for tech companies to exploit, attention is what joins us with the outside world.

The Filing Cabinet, wherein we learn a bit about the origins of the filing cabinet and how it became the pre-eminent way to store and sort information, one which continues to inform the way we do that in the digital age.

Looking Closely is Everything, wherein Craig Mod explains that paying attention to even the smallest details is a key to unlocking the world and, by extension, becoming a better person.

Crime

Cracking the Case of London’s Elusive, Acrobatic Rare-Book Thieves, wherein we learn how and why a group of intrepid daredevil thieves committed a dozen risky thefts, and how they were caught.

Follow the Money, wherein we learn about an elaborate cross-border money laundering scheme, how it was slowly pulled apart, and how the prosecutions in the case suddenly dried up.

The Secrets of the World's Greatest Jailbreak Artist, wherein we learn about Rédoine Faïd, an audacious French thief, who modelled himself after crooks in various movies, and who became known for daring prison breaks.

Odds and Ends

The Signs that Make a City, wherein Owen Hatherley looks at how signs and their typography can add to the ambiance and flavour of a city.

How College Became a Ruthless Competition Divorced From Learning, wherein we learn how higher education in America has become an all-purpose tool for acquiring income and status rather than for shaping minds.

The Bridge at the Center of the City, wherein we're transported to a section of Tokyo where stands a bridge now ugly, but a bridge which tells the story of the city.

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.

Another month's gone, and so is half of 2021. Has time always flown by this quickly, or is it that it seems to do so when you reach a certain age? No matter what, a new week means a new set of articles to read.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Space

Worlds Beyond Ours, wherein Claire Webb muses how terrestrial troubles are entwined with hopes of discovering life, and of living, beyond Earth.

Marschitecture: The Glory and Folly of Space-Age Manifest Destiny, wherein Justin R. Wolf looks at the fancy and folly of initiatives to design viable habitats for the Martian surface.

The Crisis in Space, wherein we learn that space is definitely the next frontier for international tensions and conflict, and why space diplomacy is vital.

History

On the “Girl Stunt Reporters” Who Pioneered a New Genre of Investigative Journalism, wherein we learn about the daring female journalists at the turn of the 20th century who put it all on the line to do important investigative reporting.

“The Mark of the Beast”, wherein we learn about the original anti vaxxers, who feared bovine side effects from a smallpox jab.

The US' lost, ancient megacity, wherein we learn about a massive, for its time, city called Cahokia and how its makeup is challenging many assumptions about how and why cities developed.

Writing

The Fear of Putting Our Work Out There, wherein Leo Babauta explains the problem and offers some advice that can help us conquer that fear.

All first drafts are bad drafts (and that’s what makes them good), wherein we learn a simple but valuable lesson: the first shot at writing anything won't be great, but it's a foundation upon which to build something good.

Notes on Craft, wherein novelist Kjersti A. Skomsvold discusses how she used writing push through various boundaries to write her novel The Child.

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

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Lost Album, Human Highway, wherein we learn how, in fits and starts, the supergroup tried to record what could have been a groundbreaking album but which, for a variety of reasons, never came together.

The King of the Geezer Teasers, wherein we learn about the career of prolific straight-to-video producer Randall Emmett, who's one of the top creators of movies featuring action stars and leading men who once ruled Hollywood and now make very good money appearing in very bad movies.

Peter Sinfield: Bringing Words To King Crimson’s Court, wherein we go into the history of the singer, poet, and progressive rock lyricist and learn how he teamed up with bands like King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Ideas

Dolphin intelligence and humanity’s cosmic future, wherein we learn how musings about the intelligence of cetaceans informed, in a small way, the search for extraterrestrial life.

Alphonse Bertillon and the Troubling Pursuit of Human Metrics, wherein Jessica Helfand looks at early efforts to measure and classify humans, and why such efforts fail because they try to capture something that by its very nature, impossible to capture, let alone deliver, on an index card.

How cities will fossilise, wherein David Farrier ponders what will happen to our cities once the human race is long gone.

Odds and Ends

The universal forces of sound and rhythm enhance thought and feeling, wherein Christina Rawls recounts her experience with aphantasia and how music helps her process information and deal with the problems that come with that cognitive issue.

Big Dog's Backyard Ultra: The toughest, weirdest race you've never heard of, wherein we learn about a strange, challenging (to say the least!) and gruelling (that's an understatement!) running race that puts higher profile events to shame.

Finding my Father Among the Astronauts, wherein Nicholas Schmidle recounts how he learned more about his father's inner workings by shadowing, and befriending, a test pilot working for Virgin Galactic.

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

The Debt Never Promised, wherein Benjamin Thorp muses about personal finance and personal debt, and how it effects us and our relationships.

After Neoliberalism, wherein Jonathan Levy ponders the idea of surveillance capitalism and how tech giants play an outsized role in global economics and politics, as well as in our social lives.

Libertarian Rex, wherein we learn how billionaire Rex Sinquefield swooped into St. Louis and tried, and failed miserably, to turn it into a libertarian paradise.

Technology

Screwed over: how Apple and others are making it impossible to get a cheap and easy phone repair, wherein Ritesh Chugh looks at how electronics manufacturers are fighting against a fair and competitive market for repairs, and [to] produce products that are easily repairable.

Data Mining for Humanists, wherein Dave Mandl looks at the idea that the tools and techniques of so-called Big Data can be used to advance our knowledge of culture, or even reshape culture for the better.

The Shallowness of What Tech Calls Thinking, wherein we learn more about tech’s ideological underpinnings and understand why we should be more wary of tech and those who run big tech firms.

Odds and Ends

The Quest for a Floating Utopia, wherein Boyce Upholt looks at seasteading and whether or not it will, as its proponents claim, help change the world for the better.

When the Techies Took Over Tahoe, wherein Rachel Levin looks at the good (yes, there is a bit) and the bad of the denizens of Silicon Valley who decided to move en masse to the town on the border of between California and Nevada during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously, wherein we learn about Leslie Kean's efforts to get the government and the public to look deeply at UFOs, the opposition she's faced, and the results of that seemingly quixotic task.

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:

Online Life

Why I Deleted my Social Media Accounts, wherein Daniel Milnor explains why he dumped most of his social media accounts and the effect that it had on him.

A Brief History of the Chinese Internet, wherein Graham Webster walks us through the development and growth of the internet in China, and how the country's government gained so much control over it.

The small web is beautiful, wherein Ben Hoyt explains why creating smaller websites offers you more freedom, more flexibility, and can be better for visitors and the environment.

Work

Calculating Instruments, wherein Joshua Habgood-Coote muses about crowdsourcing and its long history, and how it has contributed to work’s devaluation and destabilization.

Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots, wherein James Suzman outlines some of the myths and misconceptions around work, and reminds us of the folly of clinging to ideas about the necessity of work forged at the anvil of scarcity when we live in an era of unprecedented abundance.

Technology has turned back the clock on productivity, wherein we learn that modern technology isn't making workers more productive but instead is tempting highly skilled, highly paid people to noodle around making bad slides.

Science

This Tenet Shows Time Travel May Be Possible, wherein we learn about a theory that posits time travel could become a reality but that it won't be easy.

The Quest to Tell Science from Pseudoscience, wherein Michael D. Gordin explains that philosopher Karl Popper's concept of falsifiability isn't enough to counter pseudoscience.

How Radio Astronomy Reveals the Universe, wherein we get a glimpse of the history of the science and learn why radio telescopes are an invaluable tool of astronomy.

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:

History

The people’s ambassadress: the forgotten diplomacy of Ivy Litvinov, wherein we learn about the charismatic English woman and how she became the Soviet Union’s unofficial English-speaking hostess.

The Royal Spy Who Became the Feminist Answer to Shakespeare, wherein we learn about Aphra Behn who, in addition to being a spy for King Charles II, was also one of the first women anywhere in the world to make a living as a writer.

Propagating Propaganda: Franklin Barrett’s Red, White, and Blue Liberty Bond Carp, wherein we learn why and how a fish breeder from Philadelphia bred a patriotic carp towards the end of World War One.

The Dark Side of Technology

‘Smart’ Cities Are Surveilled Cities, wherein we learn that so-called smart cities the world over collect more data than we realize and how that data can be used against us.

Why Democracy Needs Privacy, wherein Carissa Véliz explains that privacy matters because the lack of it gives others power over you.

Digital colonialism: the evolution of American empire, wherein Michael Kwet argues that Big Tech is not only global in scope, it is fundamentally colonial in character and dominated by the United States.

Ideas

Uncanny Valets, wherein Amanda Rees looks at the attitudes towards machine intelligence in the East and West, and tries to explain the differences.

Kinds of Potential, wherein Venkatesh Rao examines various kinds of potential, what they mean to him, and what they can mean to us.

How a 'beginners’ mindset' can help you learn anything, wherein we discover the joys of engage in learning for learning’s sake.

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.

It's hard to believe that another week's bitten the dust and that 2021 is almost at its half way point. I'm still trying to figure out where March went.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

We are at a crossroads in the search for a new physics, wherein Pedro G Ferreira muses about the problems that physics isn't solving and ponders ways to try to solve them.

Why “Trusting the Science” Is Complicated, wherein Suman Seth explains that offering the titular trust can be difficult if we cannot quite tell where or what the science is.

Why Bumblebees Love Cats and Other Beautiful Relationships, wherein Stefano Mancuso ponders evolution and looks at the disastrous results of humanity messing with nature on a grand scale, results that are often more damaging to us than to nature.

Technology

The lost apps of the 80s, wherein Dave Winer looks back at a time when tools on the tools computer users had at their disposal, which (in contrast to a lot of what's available today) were [H]ighly customizable products, or products with UIs with character, people had something they don't have now — choice.

A View Of The Future Of Our Data, wherein Matt Prewitt outlines the idea of data coalitions, a workable vision for the future of our data, a future that we'll need to fight for.

The battery invented 120 years before its time, wherein we learn how and why the lead-iron battery invented by Thomas Edison might be making a comeback.

Odds and Ends

How Tokyo’s Public Housing Defined Japan’s Middle Class, wherein we learn how a style of home transformed housing in postwar Japan, and helped transform the country at the same time.

The Precarious State of the Mom-and-Pop Store, wherein we learn about a New York City couple who've chronicled the slowly-fading world of the city's neighbourhood retailers and learn about some of their finds.

Off-Season on the Jersey shore, wherein Gabrielle Esperdy examines Tyler Haughey's almost desolate photos of urban New Jersey in its off season and we learn how the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened and amplified the meanings of those photos.

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:

History

The missing continent it took 375 years to find, wherein we learn why it took so long to discover the continent of Zealandia.

The buried ship found on an English estate, wherein we learn how the discovery of an ancient ship in an English burial mound changed how we look at Dark Age Anglo Saxons and how it changed the face of archaeology in England.

The Once-Classified Tale of Juanita Moody, wherein we learn a bit about how one NSA officer, who insisted on adopting and using the latest technology, helped transform the way in which intelligence is gathered, analyzed, and published.

Business and Economics

Inside the Cryptocurrency Casino, wherein Andrew Ancheta looks at how digital currencies are going mainstream and argues that they won’t reform the banking system, or correct the over-concentration of wealth and power.

A booming industry based entirely on missed calls helped bring India online — and vanished overnight, wherein we learn about the Indian company ZipDial, which took advantage of Indians' habit of hanging up their mobile phones swiftly (to save money) to create a lucrative business.

The changing climate of risk, wherein we learn that government bonds, which are considered safe investments, could be riskier than we think thanks to climate change.

Productivity

The Guilt of Not Working More, When We're Done for the Day, wherein Leo Babauta reminds us of the dangers of being on the productivity treadmill and offers advice for avoiding the guilt of not constantly working.

The power of simplicity: how to manage our complexity bias, wherein Anne-Laure Le Cunff looks at why people embrace complex solutions and why that's not always a good thing.

The Rise and Fall of Getting Things Done, wherein Cal Newport explores how GTD became popular and we learn that productivity systems don't necessarily make us more productive.

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:

Crime

Enter the Dragnet, wherein Sarah Brayne looks at how law enforcement is hoovering up and using even non-criminal data and ponders the wider-ranging implications of that.

How German Librarians Finally Caught an Elusive Book Thief, wherein we learn about Norbert Schild, a cunning, enterprising, and meticulous thief who expertly cut maps from antique tomes (often under the noses of librarians), and how he was eventually caught.

Death of a (Really Good) Salesman, wherein we learn about the rise and fall of a one-time corporate superstar, his turn to robbery to hold things together, and of his tragic end.

Ideas

Really?, wherein David Voron ponders the idea that what we perceive as reality might not actually exist.

On Susan Stebbing and the role of public philosophy , wherein we learn how a book written in the late 1930s and its author offer lessons for us over 80 years later.

Apocalyptic Infrastructures, wherein Laleh Khalili argues that infrastructure must remain public so that we can all continue to benefit from it and to keep it intact.

The Dark Side of Technology

Future Shlock, wherein Jathan Sadowski explores the idea that the utopian vision that tech firms push only benefits them and is a vision that's actually dystopian for the rest of us.

'Spy pixels in emails have become endemic', wherein we learn about those little images embedded in emails, what they're used for, and why they're dangerous.

Tracking dots article, wherein we learn about machine identification codes which offer a way to track people who made hard copies using a particular printer.

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

How English became the language of physics, wherein we learn how in the middle and late 20th century, English supplanted German, French, and even Russian as the major language for physics research.

Blueprints Of Intelligence, wherein Philipp Schmitt ponders how AI diagrams prompt[s] us to consider how their creators think about cognition.

Not all early human societies were small-scale egalitarian bands, wherein we learn that the image of small, mobile, egalitarian bands of hunter gatherers is only a small part of the picture and that those bands may actually be an outlier.

Technology

The Case Against 'STEM', wherein M. Anthony Mills argues that we shouldn't lump science and technology together as educational pursuits since the aims and goals of the two are different.

The pandemic and a boom in digital services have revolutionized how we die, wherein Marianne Bray looks at how startups are working overtime to digitize practices around death.

How and why I stopped buying new laptops, wherein Kris De Decker explains why he tries, wherever possible, to bring new life to older laptop computers — and it's not all about saving money.

Odds and Ends

How some people can end up living at airports for months – even years – at a time, wherein Janet Bednarek looks at the ways and the whys some people take up residence in terminals for weeks, months and sometimes years.

The new use for abandoned oil rigs, wherein we learn about efforts to turn disused oil rigs as the framework for growing coral reefs.

When the Cholera Came, wherein Lindsey Hilsum contrasts living in the time of coronavirus and its requisite lockdowns and the cholera outbreak in Rwanda in the early 1990s.

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

Scott Nesbitt

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