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.
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Balancing Epistemic Humility and Prior Knowledge

This was a textbook virus. Why didn’t we act more like it?», Zeynep Tufekci asks. In her latest article, one of the indispensible voices on this pandemic looks back and ahead. As usual, a clarifying read. «This is not the first, or last, time we needed to balance the unknown with the need to act, the need to warn with the need to allow for release, and the need to use what breaks we get to increase our resilience for what we may yet face.»

Published in Weekly Filet ##326

    Privilege blinds us to plight of others who lack it

    If you’re reading this newsletter, chances are that you’re privileged. The thing about privilege is that it’s the perceived normal state for those who have it, and it takes conscious effort to see it. Accepting your own privilege comes with discomfort, which is why you often see people deny it. This is a good piece on the psychology of accepting privilege. Key quote: «Asking you to acknowledge your privilege does not minimise your personal hardship and suffering. It does not make your pain any less legitimate if you acknowledge someone else’s pain, which, by chance or birth, you find yourself free of.»

    Published in Weekly Filet ##326

      Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals

      Ten more years to go until the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are meant to be achieved. Where do we stand on ending hunger, ensuring gender equality, transitioning to affordable clean energy? And how is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting those and the 14 other goals? Tons of great data visualisations are here to help you get the full picture.

      Published in Weekly Filet ##326

        The Denialist Playbook

        Among many things — *gestures broadly at everything* — 2020 has been the year of science denial. Scientific American’s Denialist Playbook sums up what has been on display for most of the year, and shows how rejection of science has always followed a similar pattern.

        Published in Weekly Filet ##326

          Who’s in the Crossword?

          We know that certain demographics tend to be marginalised in media. One place where this happens that I didn’t have on my radar: crosswords. Highly popular, subtly shaping readers’ views. A fascinating analysis of clues and answers in crosswords from multiple large newspapers: You encounter more men, more old people, more white people than in the general population. Beautifully designed, as you’d expect from The Pudding.

          Published in Weekly Filet ##326

            Evidence suggests several state Senate candidates were plants funded by dark money

            Imagine a close election race between two candidates. A couple hundred votes will probably make the difference. Now imagine a third candidate enters the race. Very few people know him, he doesn’t invest any money campaigning, but his name is there on the ballot, along with the other two. Oh, and he happens to have the same surname as one of the other two candidates. What do you think will happen? Looks like this cunning and brazen strategy was used in Florida to syphon votes from Democratic candidates.

            Published in Weekly Filet ##325

              10 lessons on leadership

              A collection of leadership lessons, drawn from profiles of successful people (from the master of mental models to an ultra-marathon runner). Especially like the last one: Keep your word even if it doesn’t benefit you.

              Published in Weekly Filet ##325

                Hacking the Perfect Auction

                I love how Planet Money always finds new obscure stories that tell you something about how money makes the world go round. In this episode: a meticulously planned auction for something invisible worth billions of dollars — and how some Wall Street guy hacked it by buying local TV stations.

                Published in Weekly Filet ##325

                  Not every Trump voter is racist or misled. There’s a rational Trump voter too

                  Last week, I wrote that I can’t wrap my head around the fact that more than 70 million Americans voted for a second Trump term. This analysis helped with the wrapping, and gave me new ways of thinking about this election. It presents seven rational reasons for supporting Trump. The premise: «In a democracy where you can’t change the system, and you don’t expect much from that system either, a different rationale comes into play that is so often overlooked by punditry in western countries: you maximise your little stake in it.

                  Published in Weekly Filet ##325

                    Feeling disoriented by the pandemic and everything else? It’s called «zozobra», and Mexican philosophers have some advice

                    It’s always oddly satisfying to learn that there’s a word for a very specific feeling. Like: «the peculiar form of anxiety that comes from being unable to settle into a single point of view, leaving you with questions like: Is it a lovely autumn day, or an alarming moment of converging historical catastrophes?» That’s «zozobra», and as it turns out, Mexican intellectuals have given it a lot of thought over the past century.

                    Published in Weekly Filet ##325