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.

A quick note: I'll be fiddling with the site over the next few days. You might get a warning about The Monday Kickoff being insecure during that time. It isn't. I'm hoping that the changes are quick and seamless, but you know how technology can be. Everything went so smoothly it was scary. Shout out to Matt Baer (the person behind Write.as) for his help.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

The Dark Side of Technology

What Happens if the Law Starts Treating Facebook and Twitter Like Traditional Publishers?, wherein Joshua Geltzer examines Section 30 of the U.S. Communication Decency Act, and explains why even lawmakers misunderstand it, and tries to explain what the section of the Act really means.

If Stalin Had a Smartphone, wherein David Brooks opines that modern technologies can, and do, make things easier for the people who want to control us and that we thought the new tools would democratize power, but they seem to have centralized it.

How Tech Utopia Fostered Tyranny, wherein we discover that in spite of the best intentions of wide-eyed technologists and users, modern technology can help governments keep tabs on everyone and make the world a less democratic place.

Arts and Literature

How I Began to Write, wherein Gabriel Garcia Marquez recounts the road he took to becoming a journalist, essayist, and novelist.

Unmutual friend, wherein Jim Bowen delves into letters from an acquaintance of Charles Dickens' family, which detail the breakup of the author's marriage and how he tried to have his wife committed to an asylum.

Why Are Writers Drawn to Boxing?, wherein Josh Rosenblatt explains the almost irresistible hold that fisticuffs has over some wordsmiths, not just as a subject of their writing but as something to attempt.

Environment

The Astronomical Cost of Clean Air in Bangkok, wherein we're introduced to the horrible state of the environment in Thailand's capital, which most denizens of that city can't escape.

As We Approach the City, wherein writer Mik Awake discusses his sojourns around New York City with fellow writer Emily Raboteau to discover art installation pieces that try to raise awareness of climate change.

An Indigenous Critique of the Green New Deal, wherein we learn about indigenous scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's ideas about climate change, and her contention that combatting climate change will require changes to our thinking about our relationship with the land, water, and each other.

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.

Sorry, no pithy (or what I think are pithy) comments this week. Maybe that's for the best ...

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Writing

In Praise of the Long and Complicated Sentence, wherein Joe Moran argues that to make your writing soar or be more poetic, your sentences sometimes need to be longer, regardless of what style guides and writing coaches and grammar checkers say.

Taming the Synopsis, wherein literary agent Ammi-Joan Paquette shares four steps that you can use to summarize your book before you sent a pitch or unsolicited manuscript off to a publisher.

Why I Don't Write, wherein we're treated to a short essay fiction that looks at something many writers, both working and wannbe, face each day.

Technology

What Will Space Suits Look Like in the Future?, wherein we discover what it takes to create a space suit, and get a peek at how designers are going about developing the next generation protective wear for astronauts.

America’s Cities Are Running on Software From the ’80s, wherein we learn that a large number of America cities are using (long) outdated applications to perform essential tasks, why it's difficult to switch to more modern code, and how much that switch can cost.

How the Internet Travels Across Oceans, wherein we learn that the so-called cloud might be a bit soggier than we realize, and discover how much of the data the world sends relies on old-school underwater cables to reach its destinations.

Ideas

Why Misinformation Is About Who You Trust, Not What You Think, wherein the authors of The Misinformation Age engage in a wide-ranging discussion about why people believe what they do, and share some ideas about how to try to combat the spread of lies and misinformation.

Cities Aren't Technology Problems: What Smart Cities Companies Get Wrong, wherein we learn it's neither tech nor data that will make cities smart. Instead, it's people who can effect change by asking the right questions.

On Owning Many Books, wherein Mik Awake expains, through the lens of his personal collection, the pros and cons of holding on to a large number of books.

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.

If you haven't already done so, feel free to chime in on the future format of The Monday Kickoff. And, yes, I do listen to what the readers of this space have to say!

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Online Life

Free certificate authorities and the rise of the encrypted web, wherein we learn about the importance of securing websites with certificates, and how one of the most popular free certificate issuers works.

Digital guide to low tech, wherein designer Gauthier Roussilhe explains what he did to convert his website to something with a smaller digital ecological footprint.

Here are the data brokers quietly buying and selling your personal information, wherein we're introduced to some of the companiesthat buy loads of our personal information, what they do with it, and what we can try to do to fight back.

Travel

A Three-Day Expedition To Walk Across Paris Entirely Underground, wherein we're taken on a strange and fascinating journey under the City Of Lights, and get a feel for the strange sights and unexpected camaraderie beneath the city's streets.

Where Not to Travel in 2019, or Ever, wherein Kate Harris explains why it's not a good idea to take adventure travel to extremes and visit places that don't want outsiders stepping into them.

Europe, the Very, Very Long Way, wherein Adam Weymouth recounts his long, arduous, and incredibly fulfilling trip from England to Turkey, all on foot.

Politics and Government

African countries should rethink how they use e-government platforms, wherein we learn that a number of countries on the continent are embracing digital government servics, but might not be using then as well as they could or should. There are lessons for governments elsewhere, too.

Among the Gilets Jaunes, wherein Jeremy Harding takes a close look at the French protest movement, its unlikely success, and where that success is taking those who don the yellow vest to agitate.

Geopolitics for the Left, wherein we learn that when it comes to foreign policy, the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. aren't all that different, and really never have been.

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 been a little over a year since I started the Monday Kickoff. While I think the format works, I'm wondering what you think. I'd like your help in charting the form that the Monday Kickoff takes in the future.

How can you do that? By completing this short poll. Don't worry: I won't be collecting email addresses or anything like that. The poll is open until 31 May, 2019.

With that out of the way, let's get this Monday started with these links:

Arts and Literature

The Philosophy of Creative Writing, wherein we learn how the philosophy behind new humanism help shape the tone and tenor of creative writing programs at American universities.

Touching the untouchable, wherein author Hanif Kureshi reflects on the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, and the wider effects it had on British society.

One of film’s greatest epics is a 7-hour adaptation of War and Peace. Really., wherein Charles Bramesco takes a close look at Sergei Bondarchuk's ambitious adaptation of the Tolstoy classic, and explains why and how the film works. Having see the movie twice, I'm in awe of it.

Technology

Wake up, humanity! A hi-tech dystopian future is not inevitable, wherein we learn that sometimes, the future is cancelled and that perhaps we should put the brakes on some of the tech that we're creating.

They know where you live, wherein we're exposed to the dangers of apps and services that collect our data and track us, and how people in the tech industry can try to mitigate those dangers.

Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain, wherein tech journalist Kevin Roose learns about that bad smartphone habits that broke his brain, and how he tackled the problem.

Odds and Ends

Designing the game console of the future (in 1997), wherein we hear the tale of Julian Harper who, as a teenager, entered a contest to design a game console (in the hopes of winning one) and how that put him on the path to a career in media.

Japanese Banks Will Finally Stop Using a Piece of 1800s Technology, where we learn that Japanese banks will no longer allow customers to use hanko (personal stamps) to open accounts or perform transactions. Another bit of tradition is dying ...

The $200,000 Heist That Tore the 'Star Wars' World Apart, wherein we learn how one man, addicted to collecting Star Wars memorabilia*, slapped the community of collectors in the face by stealing from the acknowledged doyen of their hobby.

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.

April is half way done. I'm finding it hard to believe that more than a quarter of 2019 is gone already. Still so much to do, but I'm refusing to live the 1,000 kph lifestyle again. It's just not worth it.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Ideas

Big Idea Famine, wherein Nicholas Negroponte laments the focus of modern tech on big money and gimmicks instead of tackling grand ideas and bigger problems.

Anatomy of Deception and Self-Delusion, wherein we're treated to a thoughtful analysis of Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion, and learn why people seem to believe what they believe and try to influence what they perceive to be reality.

Memories of an Atomic Childhood in Appalachia, wherein Lindsey A. Freeman recounts growing up in and around Oak Ridge, one of the centres of atomic weapons development in the middle of the 20th century.

Environment

To Slow Down Climate Change, We Need To Take On Capitalism, wherein author Kim Stanley Robinson reminds us that the current economic system is doing the environment (or us) any good, and that to save the planet we need to replace that system. ASAP.

How streaming music could be harming the planet, wherein old and new ways of listening to music are compared, and we discover that there may be no one completely green way of enjoying our favourite tunes.

Climate Signs, wherein writer Emily Raboteau joins fellow scribe Mik Awake to explore several art installations focusing on climate change in New York City, and in which she explores that potential and catastrophic effects of those changes to the city.

Odds and Ends

Satori in the Conbini, wherein Noy Thrupkaew shares a paen to junk food as found in the Japanese convenience store, and her frustrations at not finding what she wanted.

Before There Was Internet Paranoia, There Was Lyndon LaRouche, wherein one of America's greatest conspiracy theorists is (not fondly) remembered, and we learn that what's new is old again when it comes to spreading wacky ideas and fake news.

As a Fugitive With a Fake Name, I Discovered the Real Me, wherein Emily L.Q. Freeman narrates how she went on the run, and why she stayed underground for as long as she did.

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.

I just realized that The Monday Kickoff turned one year old recently. It seems like I started this little project just a couple of months ago. They grow up do quickly, don't they?

And whether you've been here since the beginning or have only recently started with The Monday Kickoff, thank you for reading this space each week.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Technology

The Secret History of Women in Coding, wherein we look back at a time when women were accepted as programmers, when and why that changed, how institutions are trying to correct this, and the obstacles that are still in the way.

Technology in deep time: How it evolves alongside us , wherein we learn how most so-called new technology is the result of building on already-existing technology and innovations — paralleling human development.

Shutting down the internet doesn't work — but governments keep doing it, wherein George Ogola explains how and why governments block access to the internet, the potential costs of that action, and why doing that rarely achieves a government's aims.

Business

Two identities, one man, wherein we get a glimpse at how a convicted financial criminal jumped on the blockchain bandwagon, tried to turn a company he founded into the Bloomberg of blockchain, and the chaos he left in his wake.

The Triple Jeopardy of a Chinese Math Prodigy, wherein we see how a secretive UK hedge fund's heavy-handed use of private prosecution laws to essentially destroy a former employee accused of IP theft.

“She Never Looks Back”: Inside Elizabeth Holmes’s Final Months at Theranos, wherein get a look at the almost delusional belief Elizabeth Holmes had in Theranos and in her ability to bring the company back from the brink.

Crime

A Preacher, a Scam, and a Massacre in Brooklyn, wherein we hear the story of DeVernon LeGrande, a con man and fake preacher who committed unspeakable crimes that were hidden by the church he founded (a church that is still operating today).

The Secrets of the World's Greatest Art Thief, wherein we hear the tale of Stéphane Breitwieser, a prolific French art thief, how he committed his crimes, and that he did it for love of art and not money.

When Does an Accident Become a Crime?, wherein we hear the tragic story of a car accident, how it led to a conviction of criminally negligent homicide for the survivor, and the effect it had on two families.

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.

This Kickoff comes to you from the upper part of New Zealand's South Island. I've been touring around here with my family since late last week. It's been fun and interesting, but I can't wait to head home tomorrow.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Arts and Literature

Rambling Reflections: On Summers in Switzerland and Sheffield, wherein we ramble with some philosophers and writers from the past, and learn how integral those walks were to their writing and thinking.

On not overanalyzing your own work, wherein we get a glimpse into filmmaker John Carpenter's creative process, which is more practical than ephemeral.

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction, wherein we look back at Sven Birkerts' book The Gutenberg Elegies and reflect upon what reading was and what it has become.

Science

Möbius Strips Defy a Link With Infinity, wherein we're introduced to some mind-bending mathematics, which challenge what laymen define as infinity.

Does Scrabble Need to Be Fixed?, wherein a mathematician argues that that there are “lucky” tiles in Scrabble and that the popular word game needs to be changed to reflect a player's skill.

How the Brain Creates a Timeline of the Past, wherein we learn how research in mathematics and neuroscience has come together to create a model of how brains perceive and map out the passage of time.

Odds and Ends

Kitchen Tales, wherein Wendy Jones Nakanishi describes how her attitude towards, and relationship with, food and cooking changed after she moved to Japan and married a farmer.

The Mad Scramble to Claim the World's Most Coveted Meteorite, wherein we learn how three professional meteorite hunters rushed to Peru to try to find a recently-crashed space rock, and what awaited them when they got there.

Oh God, It's Raining Newsletters, wherein Craig Mod examines the recent resurgence email newsletters, and why that resurgence could be the perfect antidote to social media and a focused alternative to blogging.

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.

Today's a special day for me: this evening, I officially become a citizen of New Zealand. It's been a while in coming, but the wait has been worth it.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

History

The people’s prince, wherein Catherine Zuckert argues that Niccolo Machiavelli's reputation as a ruthless schemer might be the wrong impression of the man.

Pottery reveals America's first social media networks, wherein we dip into the What's new is old again files and learn that yet another ancient culture had its own social network and social media, one that was physical and not digital.

Did ancient cave artists share a global language?, wherein we're exposed to the possibility that early cave painters may have shared a common (or at least similar) symbolic language.

Productivity

Creating some slack, wherein we learn that households (and individuals) can find the time and energy to do what they want, but that it's not easy and requires discipline to create and maintain the necessary slack.

Connecting Your Work Tasks to Meaning, wherein Leo Babauta explains how to make what you do more joyful by suffusing it with meaning and relevance.

Should You Target the Minimum?, wherein we learn three different ways to get things done and discover their strengths and weaknesses.

Crime

The Expat English Teachers' Murderous Triangle, wherein we learn how a Canadian English teacher in Taiwan got involved in the drug trade in Taipei, and the price he paid for that.

Isidore Zimmerman: The Man the System Couldn't Break, wherein we hear the story of a man sentenced to life imprisonment for a crime he didn't commit, and how his belief in his own innocence prevailed.

TAKEN: How police departments make millions by seizing property, wherein we learn how police in South Carolina are using asset forfeiture laws to summarily seize cash and property from people not accused of, nor guilty of, crimes. People who are, predominantly, black.

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.

What happened in Christchurch last Friday still leaves me numb. I'm not going to go on about that at length in this space. What I'm feeling is still a bit too raw.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Ideas

Journeys of Reverence: A daughter and mother's decades on the Shikoku henro pilgrimage, wherein Catherine Ludvik recounts the times she and her mother undertook the 88 temples pilgrimage in Japan, and what they learned about Buddhism, themselves, and their fellow pilgrims.

Are We Approaching Peak Stuff?, wherein we listen to the debate about whether or not we've reached the apex of consumption, and how technological progress and efficiency gains sometimes lead, counterintuitively, to more consumption rather than less.

Learning from Weirdos, wherein, through the lens of a review of the book Outsider Theory, we learn how outsiders can come to shape the literary and cultural worlds.

Technology

The Cost of Living in Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet Empire, wherein Brian Phillips laments what the online world has become and how our jadedness towards the internet is really a form of grief.

How Cartographers for the U.S. Military Inadvertently Created a House of Horrors in South Africa, wherein we learn how a mistake with technology — combined with an unwarranted sense that we know more, and to a higher degree of certainty, than we actually do — made a Pretoria home the nexus of (false) claims of criminal activity.

“The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging, wherein we learn about the origins of the pioneering blogging platform, its growing pains, and how it entered its terminal decline.

Business

This is What Happens When You Sue Your Boss, wherein we delve into the weird and wacky world of employer/employee arbitration, and see that it can be as much farce as it is cutting costs and legal fees.

Dirty dealing in the $175 billion Amazon Marketplace, wherein we enter the world of professional sellers on Amazon, and discover how quickly they can lose their livelihoods due to the actions of ruthless competitiors, to unforgiving algorithms, and to an inflexible set of rules.

Fracking Incarnate, wherein we hear the tale of the rise and fall of Aubrey McClendon, a grifter in the fracking game, and learn how companies like his could cause the next financial meltdown.

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.

This week, I've done something I try to avoid: I've doubled up on articles from certain publications. Why? What I've read stuck with me and I couldn't wait to share it with you.

And speaking of sharing, if you haven't already done so, why not subscribe to my weekly newsletter? Or if you have subscribed, please feel free to recommend it to a friend or a colleague.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Science

The Brain Maps Out Ideas and Memories Like Spaces, wherein we learn about grid cells, which help our brains map space and aid us in navigating better and improve our spatial awareness, and which may help us learn faster, process information better, and more.

The Magnetic North Pole's Mysterious Journey Across the Arctic, wherein we're shown how and why Earth's magnetic pole is shifting, and the effect that shift can have.

Foundations Built for a General Theory of Neural Networks, wherein we discover that teaching a machine neural network is a trial and error process, and how researchers are trying to make it less so.

Writing

My Year of Writing Anonymously, wherein Stacey D'Erasmo descirbes how writing under a pseudonym changed her as a writer, while she explains why people write under false names.

American Ghostwriter, wherein journalist Sean Patrick Cooper delves into the new world of vanity ghostwriting, and examines the effect that mini literary industries like that will have on writing and journalism.

Is Line Editing Dead?, whherein we're introduced to a type of editing that seems to be fading away, and learn how it can be the most important edit a writer gets.

Odds and Ends

Exxon Had Some Insane Visions for Saving the Planet, wherein Asaf Shalev briefly examines the handful of ideas that the petroleum company concocted in the late 1990s to combat climate change (something the firm was officially skeptical about).

The Plot Against the Principality of Sealand, wherein we learn a bit about the history of the (in)famous micronation, about some machinations against it, and about the government in exile (and global scams) that those machinations spawned.

The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa's Oldest Trees, wherein we're introduced to the life-giving and revered baobab tree, how they seem to be dying, and how that loss will effect the people who rely upon and revere those trees.

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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