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!

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Treasure trove

2172 recommended links since 2011

Climate Change from A to Z

Don’t be put off by the title that puts to you sleep before you’ve even arrived at the zzzzzz. It’s a great piece, from one of the best climate writers of our time, with beautiful illustrations to match the words. 26 stories – well, 25 if we drop the despair — that tell of our past, present and future with climate change, from Arrhenius to Zero. Just the right mix of realism and optimism.

From Weekly Filet #419, in November 2022.

Than Average

A fun, insightful, sometimes surprising game to play. You answer one question at a time and all you have to do is gauge whether you’re above or below average. For example: Do you experience envy more than average? Afterwards you see what side everyone else has picked. Obviously, in a perfectly representative sample of people who assess themselves correctly, it should always be 50:50. So the real challenge in this game comes after each reveal: Why is this skewed?

From Weekly Filet #419, in November 2022.

    Our recommendations for giving in 2022

    The end of the year is approaching, you’re probably thinking about donating some of your money if you can afford to. GiveWell is an organisation that researches highly effective causes and organisations to donate to. Every year, they publish a list of their top recommendations. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time researching yourself, it’s a safe bet to go with their recommendations (I’ve done so many times). However, their list — and the methodology behind it — are also a great starting point for familiarising yourself with ways to assess the effectiveness of donations and for asking the right questions before picking a charity to donate to.

    From Weekly Filet #419, in November 2022.

      Well-Behaved Bubbles Often Make History

      The caveat upfront: This is from the media arm of an investment firm that has poured billions into tech and crypto startups, so they have billions of reasons to believe in the upside in the bubbles that just popped. That said, it’s an interesting perspective. Key sentences: «The right kind of bubble, at the right time, can exert a powerful positive effect on the world. […] The two things that kill a company during a bubble are excessive optimism, and the unwillingness to be sufficiently optimistic.»

      From Weekly Filet #419, in November 2022.

        Is Russia losing?

        «The war was lost long ago. The challenge remains one of getting Putin and his circle to accept this view.» Another highly informative analysis by Lawrence Freedman.

        From Weekly Filet #419, in November 2022.

          Who fired the missile into Poland?

          This week seemed like a good week to check back in with my most trusted source of information on the war in Ukraine. On Tuesday, two people were killed in Poland by what appeared to be a missile strike. A NATO member state under attack, maybe by accident? Time to hold your breath. Ukrainecast, as usual, helped me make sense of it, with expert clarification on what actually happens when a NATO country is attacked, or believes it is attacked.

          From Weekly Filet #418, in November 2022.

            Emissions Map by Climate Trace

            It’s a saddening map to look at, but what it shows and how it comes to be is astonishing. Climate Trace tracks carbon emissions down to the level of individual polluting facilities — coal plants, oils fields, cement factories, even cattle feedlots — using satellite data. More than 79 000 emitters all over the globe, tracked in near real time, creating what the New York Times called a «hyperlocal atlas of the human activities that are altering the planet’s chemistry».

            From Weekly Filet #418, in November 2022.

              Against “polycrisis”

              Looking for a dose of optimism? Here you go: «I look out in the world and I don’t see a polycrisis; I see an emerging polysolution.» (Side note: I used this essay to test a new feature in my reader app of choice — which now lets you prompt artificial intelligence to generate summaries or rewrite complicated parts of an article in simpler terms. Fascinating.)

              From Weekly Filet #418, in November 2022.

                How Quitting Can be Your Competitive Advantage

                Remember when Liz Truss proclaimed «I’m a fighter, not a quitter» (only to resign a couple hours later)? Quitting usually gets a bad rap, people who quit are seen as weak, lacking resolve and perseverance. In a new book (and here in an interview), Annie Duke makes the case for how knowing when to quit is a superpower. (Though, I should advise, this doesn’t mean that being Liz Truss is a superpower.)

                From Weekly Filet #418, in November 2022.