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What to expect

Hi, I'm David. A journalist, and a curious generalist.
I've been curating the best of the web for my newsletter since 2011. I'd love to be your diligent curator, too.

Recommendations in the Weekly Filet are things I want my friends to see.

Things that tickle and delight a curious mind.

Articles, books, podcasts, graphics, videos, photographs,...The form is never the limit.

I let these questions guide me:
1. Does it help understand a complex, important issue?
2. Does it foster empathy by making you see the world through others' eyes?
3. Does it inspire self-reflection?

If it's timely, that's good. If it's timeless, that's better.

If in doubt, I prefer nerdy, witty, ambiguous. Solutions-oriented and actionable. Candid.

Don't expect news. Expect new insights.
Expect to be surprised.

Surprise me now!

Treasure trove

2257 recommended links since 2011

Against doomerism

«There’s plenty of reason to be optimistic that the future will be better — if we make it so.» A new series by Vox, well worth your time.

From Weekly Filet #436, in April 2023.

    6 Greatest Bo Burnham Songs

    I’m extremely late to the party, I know. But here’s what great about being years late: There’s so much to discover and marvel at, all at once. So, if you know all of Bo Burnham’s great…songs? is that what we should call them, because they are way to funny to be just…songs? anyway…if you know them all already, good on you. If you’re new to this like I was until recently…enjoy! (Also, if you have no more than 14 seconds, start here: The world on fire).

    From Weekly Filet #436, in April 2023.

      How Paris Kicked Out the Cars

      Flying cars used to be a defining feature of how we imagined futuristic cities. Paris wants to be a different kind of futuristic (or, rather, future-proof) city: One where cars have become an afterthought. This is a nuanced look at how Paris is transforming, and how this is about so much more than just transportation. All based on a simple, powerful premise: A city dominated by cars is a choice, and there is no reason it cannot be reversed.

      From Weekly Filet #436, in April 2023.

      Why Americans die earlier

      One in 25 American five-year-olds today will not make it to their 40th birthday. This is probably the most shocking bit from a data-driven examination of why life expectancy in the US is much lower than in comparable countries.

      From Weekly Filet #436, in April 2023.

        «You can be that person, and be here» — Jacinda Ardern’s valedictory speech

        A remarkable politician bids goodbye. I think her farewell speech is worth reading in full, but here’s the key quote: «I do hope I have demonstrated something else entirely. That you can be anxious, sensitive, kind and wear your heart on your sleeve. You can be … a nerd, a crier, a hugger – you can be all of these things, and not only can you be here – you can lead.» Prefer a short video? There you go.

        From Weekly Filet #436, in April 2023.

          The Blast Effect

          A digital reconstruction of what bullets do to a body, and why mass shootings in the US are often so deadly. What makes this piece so strong and so haunting is that the 3D models used for illustration are not just any models, but the exact reconstructions of two kids who died in shootings.

          From Weekly Filet #435, in March 2023.

            What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work?

            I’m sure you’ve heard the argument that all artificial intelligence is really doing at this point is «guessing what the next word in a series of words will be». In a way, it’s hard to argue against, because that is literally what GPT is doing, and yet that process generates astonishing results. How come? For an answer, look no further than this excellent in depth explainer by Stephen Wolfram, one of the key early figures in artificial intelligence. It’s a good 1.5 hour read, but if you’re into language and technology, it’s so worth it. His answer, in a nutshell: «Language is at a fundamental level somehow simpler than it seems»

            From Weekly Filet #435, in March 2023.

            A Mind-Expanding Conversation About Human History and Happiness With Tim Urban

            If you, like myself, have loved and devoured those ultralong Wait Buy Why explainers in the past, you might have noticed it’s been quiet for a while. It’s because Tim Urban has been writing a book, which is out now. This is an interesting conversation about one of the key ideas from the book — looking at human history as a hypothetical 1000-page-book.

            From Weekly Filet #435, in March 2023.

              The age of average

              Coffee shops and skylines. Cars and book covers. People, flats, logos. Why is everything becoming more and more similar? «Perhaps when times are turbulent, people seek the safety of the familiar. Perhaps it’s our obsession with quantification and optimisation. Or maybe it’s the inevitable result of inspiration becoming globalised.» If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, make time for the wonderful anecdote in the introduction.

              From Weekly Filet #435, in March 2023.