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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

2362 recommended links since 2011

The Opposite of Loneliness

«We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. […] It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team.» A beautiful short essay, and heartbreaking to read that the author, 22 years old, died in an accident just a few days after writing it.

From Weekly Filet #453, in August 2023.

    The end of the Chinese financial miracle?

    What is happening with China’s economy? And where might it go from here? The David McWilliams provides a good big picture analysis. The key assumption: China has «economic long Covid».

    From Weekly Filet #453, in August 2023.

      The Big Here Quiz

      Something to ponder and explore over the weekend: 30 questions to elevate your awareness (and literacy) of the greater place in which you live. Point North. How many people live in your watershed? Where does the pollution in your air come from?

      From Weekly Filet #453, in August 2023.

        Elon Musk’s Shadow Rule

        An excellent, in-depth profile of Elon Musk. It tells the story of a determined, wildly successful man, deeply lonely, increasingly spiralling out of control – all while being in control of critical infrastructure with wide geopolitical ramifications.

        From Weekly Filet #453, in August 2023.

          Slum photos were weaponised against the people they depict

          It’s a thin line between documenting suffering and injustice to raise awareness, and exploiting the people depicted in the images (the iconic image of the «Afghan Girl» is an infamous example). Sometimes, it’s not a thin line: This historical essay describes how slum photography was explicitly used against the people it showed, to make their lives worse.

          From Weekly Filet #453, in August 2023.

            Paragliding Disaster: Sucked Towards the Stratosphere

            Gripping first episode of a new podcast. Real Survival Stories tells the «astonishing tales of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations». In this first episode: a paraglider gets sucked into a thunderstorm, rises to 10000 meters, becomes unconscious…and somehow survives.

            From Weekly Filet #452, in August 2023.

              Fatigue Can Shatter a Person

              Everyone who made it through the Covid pandemic largely unharmed should take the time to read this. For most people, Covid might be an unpleasant memory. For some, it meant «a complete depletion of the essence of who you are, of your life force». Ed Yong with a compassionate and nuanced perspective on the profound effects of Long Covid and ME/CFS.

              From Weekly Filet #452, in August 2023.

                Explained: The conspiracy to make AI seem harder than it is

                This is hands down the best primer on how AI models work. It’s a 90-minute talk by Spotify Co-President Gustav Söderstöm to bring their employees up to speed, but it works for any audience. His premise: AI models might be highly complex in practice, but in theory, they are quite easy to understand — if you take away all the jargon. That’s what he does, masterfully, and explains everything from the basics of large language models to how AI models can generate images and music from text alone. I had many moments during the talk when I thought to myself «Ok, I understand this, but how about…?» and it’s always the next thing he goes on to explain. So good.

                From Weekly Filet #452, in August 2023.

                The limits of our personal experience and the value of statistics

                «For every person you know, there are ten million people you do not know.» A great piece on why we need to embrace statistics to understand the world. Key point: «A statistical view without personal experience lacks depth, and personal experience without statistical knowledge lacks perspective.»

                From Weekly Filet #452, in August 2023.