The Weekly Filet brings you the five best links of the week, every Friday. Making sense of the big issues of our time (with a healthy dose of serendipity and nerdiness). Brought to you by journalist David Bauer. Trawling the web for hidden gems since 2011.
Subscribe now | Learn more

Is anybody in there?’ Life on the inside as a locked-in patient

Would you rather be able to walk without a mind, or think without a body? The story of Jake Haendel who spent months trapped in his body, unable to move or communicate, but fully conscious. Very few such patients recover and are able to describe their experiences — which makes this story all the more interesting.

Published in Weekly Filet ##328

    Less than a year to develop a COVID vaccine — here’s why you shouldn’t be alarmed

    Yes, Covid vaccines have been developed very quickly, much faster than usual. No, that doesn’t make them unsafe. What makes the concern so, well, contagious is that it intuitively feels correct. «So next time somebody expresses concern at the astonishing speed the vaccine trials have happened at, point out to them that ten years isn’t a good thing, it’s a bad thing. It’s not ten years because that is safe, it’s ten hard years of battling indifference, commercial imperatives, luck, and red tape.

    Published in Weekly Filet ##328

      Otherworldly Landscapes, Illuminated by Drones

      Drone photography of a different kind. In Reuben Wu’s work, the drones don’t take the pictures, but carry the light that illuminates the landscapes he photographs. Fascinating, beautiful.

      Published in Weekly Filet ##328

        Important stuff most people get wrong

        It’s a simple study: 18 questions on the state of the world (such as: What percentage of people live in extreme poverty?), 3 possible answers each. Turns out: On average, monkeys do better than humans. How is that possible? The monkeys, as you’d expect, have no clue, but picking answers at random means that, on average, they pick the right one every third question. If humans do worse, that means they must know some things about the world — they are just wrong. Take the test yourself (no pressure 🐵), then

        Published in Weekly Filet ##328

          Why did renewables become so cheap so fast?

          We won’t be able to invent our way out of the climate crisis, but we do have technological advancements on our side. It’s a stunning chart: In a mere decade, solar power went from being the most expensive source of energy to the cheapest. The story of how renewable energy became so cheap, what it has to do with satellites, and what it means for the future.

          Published in Weekly Filet ##328

            Sell Me Your Climate Bombs

            Climate heroes without capes. This story includes: One of the worst greenhouse gases in the world, lurking in garages and sheds everywhere. A company that makes money buying it. And a shell company needed to convince climate deniers to let them destroy it.

            Published in Weekly Filet ##327

              This Pandemic Must Be Seen

              One weird thing about this pandemic: We hear of hospitals at capacity, of people fighting for their lives, we get daily updates on the number of people who died, but we rarely get to see any of this. «It’s time to pull back the curtain on the suffering caused by Covid-19. The virus itself is invisible, but its effects are not. We need to see the toll.

              Published in Weekly Filet ##327

                Happiness Won’t Save You

                The story of Philip Brickman, an expert in the psychology of happiness who couldn’t find happiness for himself. Read it now (Content Note: Suicide).

                Published in Weekly Filet ##327

                  Abandon Your {enter holiday} Script

                  For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, this comes too late. However, with Christmas and Hanukkah around the corner, it’s still very timely advice. Priya Parker, author of the wonderful «The Art of Gathering», on getting creative with celebrating holidays in a pandemic, and finding middle ground between «just cancel it» and pretending everything is normal. «All rituals begin as improv, and the lucky ones suffer the curse of becoming scripts. […] We should treat these times as “an offer,” and ask ourselves how we would construct these celebrations if we were starting from scratch.

                  Published in Weekly Filet ##327

                    On Not Meeting Nazis Halfway

                    When only half the divide is being tasked with making the peace, there is no peace to be made, but there is a unilateral surrender on offer.» An excellent essay by Rebecca Solnit.

                    Published in Weekly Filet ##327