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

2238 recommended links since 2011

​​1 dataset 100 visualizations

A simple dataset — no more than six numbers — visualised in one hundred different ways. Obviously, some of these visualisations are better than others, and some are near pointless or quite misleading, but that is exactly what makes this overview so instructive to look at. Usually when you see graphics being used to make a point, you don’t see all the roads not taken, and are probably not aware of how different choices would have changed the effect of the graphic.

From Weekly Filet #431, in March 2023.

    How the powerful bend society’s rules and how to bend them back

    Bruce Schneier calls himself a «public-interest technologist». In this podcast interview, he talks about hacking in its broadest sense: When people follow the rules while subverting their intent. He makes the point that many political and financial systems are created in a way that allows already powerful people to hack them

    From Weekly Filet #430, in February 2023.

      Nigerian Election 2023: What to Know

      One of the largest countries in the world is holding elections this week. And you probably weren’t aware of it. I know I wasn’t — until I read about it in Sham’s excellent newsletter. Isn’t that a bit weird? So here’s an explainer to bring you up to speed. (Need a refresher where Nigeria is? I’ve got you covered.)

      From Weekly Filet #430, in February 2023.

        The strange death of the centre right

        An excellent analysis on why traditional centre right parties are losing elections everywhere — and why this should worry you even if you favour more liberal, leftist parties: «The pendulum will always swing back eventually. At the current rate, in much of the West, when it does so it will pass through a vacuum where the moderate right once stood – and onwards, rightwards, to less palatable alternatives beyond.» (You might need to register for free to be able to read the article — it’s worth it.)

        From Weekly Filet #430, in February 2023.

          How long can Russia keep fighting the war in Ukraine?

          It’s exactly one year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of their neighbour to the West. And with Putin showing no signs of backing away from his initial plan, the only way one can imagine this war to end is when Russia can no longer sustain it. The Financial Times assesses the four key areas Putin must draw on: «the forces on the battlefield; Russia’s stock of munitions; the Kremlin’s economic war chest; and ordinary Russians’ feelings about the war.»

          From Weekly Filet #430, in February 2023.

            Decarbonization: The long view, trends and transience, net zero

            An excellent presentation full of interesting charts on the state of climate and decarbonisation. How we got here, what trends we’re seeing, how to think about what’s next. You don’t need to take time for the entire presentation. Everyone should know the charts in part one — that’s the big picture. Part three will give you good insights on the path ahead. Part two is for you if you really want to go into the weeds of it.

            From Weekly Filet #429, in February 2023.

              The Sleeping Beauty Problem

              Are you a halfer or a thirder? Watch this video on an unnerving probability problem to pick your side. I’m firmly in the thirder camp, only slightly worried by the fact that in consequence, I also must believe that we live in a simulation.

              From Weekly Filet #429, in February 2023.

                ChatGPT Is a Blurry JPEG of the Web

                If you’re annoyed by the current hype around large language models (the kind of artificial intelligence that can write and chat with humans), or if you still haven’t quite understood how it works, this article is for you. Science fiction writer Ted Chiang offers a lens through which to understand what’s problematic about these models. And he offers a helpful proxy: We will know a large language model has become reliably good in quality when the output it generates will in return be used as training material for new models (which currently isn’t the case).

                From Weekly Filet #429, in February 2023.

                How Do You Serve a Friend in Despair?

                Both deeply moving and highly instructive: A personal account of trying to help a friend fighting depression. One of many standout quotes: «When you give a depressed person advice on how to get better, there’s a good chance all you are doing is telling the person that you just don’t get it.» ⚠️ Content warning: suicide.

                From Weekly Filet #429, in February 2023.