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

2062 recommended links since 2011

Hot Money: Who Rules Porn?

A new podcast from The Financial Times. The first two episodes take you back to the early days of the web, and a German engineer’s rise to the «Darth Vader of Porn». The podcast promises to reveal the shadowy financial and power structures of the porn industry — and if those first two episodes are any indication, it will be worth your time.

From Weekly Filet #397, in June 2022.

    Finding a Path in a Broken System

    An excellent in-depth report on gender confirmation surgery and how Thailand became a top destination for it. Its success is a symptom of Western failure.

    From Weekly Filet #397, in June 2022.

      Helsinki Bus Station Theory

      Who knew that Helsinki’s main bus station can tell you the secret to a creatively fulfilling career? The way it operates is a powerful metaphor: Don’t be disheartened if it feels like you’re following everyone else’s path rather than being original and creative. The key is simple: «Stay on the bus. Stay on the fucking bus.» (If you like the column, you might also like the author’s book «Four Thousand Weeks», which happens to be among the books that make readers of the Weekly Filet feel hopeful)

      From Weekly Filet #397, in June 2022.

        It’s Been 50 Years. I Am Not ‘Napalm Girl’ Anymore.

        I’m sure you know the photograph. A naked girl, running from a napalm strike, screaming. That was 50 years ago, during the Vietnam War, Kim Phuc Phan Thi was 9 years old (If you’re interested in more background on how the iconic image came to be, I recommend this thread). Today, in an essay in The New York Times, she reflects on how that photograph changed her life. Drawing from her own experience, she makes the case for publishing images from school shootings: «We must face this violence head-on, and the first step is to look at it.»

        From Weekly Filet #397, in June 2022.

          The AI that creates any picture you want

          You’ve probably seen a couple examples of this (if not, you’re in for a treat): Artificial Intelligence is now able to create images based on a simple text prompt (say, «An elephant watching Netflix in a hotel room, in the style of Edward Hopper»). This excellent video explains how it all works, and what new questions this technology raises.

          From Weekly Filet #396, in May 2022.

            What would a flying-free world look like?

            A simple question, an interesting imagined reality: «What would happen if people across the world suddenly stopped flying completely?» (Also good to keep in mind that for most people, not flying — let alone regularly and across continents — is already the reality. Just 11% of the global population took a flight in 2018.)

            From Weekly Filet #396, in May 2022.

              Ava DuVernay is Triumphant

              A short conversation, rich in insights with director Ava DuVernay (Selma, When They See Us). On leadership, on storytelling, on knowing when to say «I don’t know», and on why you shouldn’t ask children what they want to be when they grow up.

              From Weekly Filet #396, in May 2022.

                Old thinking will break your brain

                Alex Steffen is one of my favourite writers for making sense of the climate crisis. In this powerful essay, he addresses a fundamental issue we humans face with the climate crisis: «We’re trying to understand an unprecedented future with the worldviews of an older age, formed on a different planet.» It reminded me of one of my favourite quotes, by Paul Graham: «When experts are wrong, it’s often because they’re experts on an earlier version of the world.» With the climate crisis, it’s not just about the experts, but all of us. One particularly trenchant phase that will stick with me: «persistent nostalgia for the future we thought we had». The climate crisis, among many other things, is a narrative challenge.

                From Weekly Filet #396, in May 2022.

                  The War Won’t End Until Putin Loses

                  Anne Applebaum’s reminder to everyone who thinks that the war in Ukraine can be ended if only Putin is offered some sort of face-saving off-ramp. This belief, she argues, is based on two false assumptions: 1. That Putin wants to end the war, that he needs an off-ramp. 2. That Russia, even if it were to begin negotiating, would stick to the agreements it signed. Her conclusion: «The only solution that offers some hope of long-term stability in Europe is rapid defeat.» ‌

                  From Weekly Filet #396, in May 2022.