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

Learning from people who I disagree with

Most of us try to avoid speaking to people whose views we strongly oppose, and if we do, it’s to convince them that they are wrong and we are right (I myself am certainly guilty of this). That’s why I liked this essay and especially the project it introduces: a newsletter in which the author will have conversations with people he disagrees with, with the aim of better understanding those views.

From Weekly Filet #415, in October 2022.

    The Crypto Story

    I know what you’re thinking: We’ve heard more than enough of crypto. Hear me out. This is the one story about crypto everyone should read. Whether you’re into crypto and think you know it all. Whether you kinda understand it, but never quite had the nerve to dig deeper. Or whether you really couldn’t be bothered with any of it. It’s a whopping forty-thousand words. Will take 2-3 hours to read, but wow, it’s worth it. It will give you the big picture view: Where it came from, what it all means, and why it still matters. Written in great detail and nuance, but always accessible and never boring.

    From Weekly Filet #415, in October 2022.

      Backdooring a summarizerbot to shape opinion

      «If you can poison a machine learning model so that it usually works, but fails in ways that the attacker can predict and the user of the model doesn’t even notice, the scenarios write themselves…» Summary of a fascinating and frightening research paper.

      From Weekly Filet #415, in October 2022.

        The Future Perfect 50

        A great list of people who are working toward a healthier world, confront humanity’s biggest threats and help us imagine the future.

        From Weekly Filet #415, in October 2022.

          ( ) 20th Anniversary Edition

          Exactly twenty years ago today, Sigur Rós released their album simply titled ( ). I don’t think there is another record that I’ve listened to so regularly and never grew tired of. Even right now as I’m listening to the 20th Anniversary Edition, I discover new facets that make me fall in love with the music all over again.

          From Weekly Filet #415, in October 2022.

            Ark Head

            Overall, I think this essay is too pessimistic (see recommendation 1 and the quote at the very end of the newsletter). Still, these quotes hit home:

            • We increasingly respond practically to the world without even attempting to make sense of it.
            • We’ve given up on the prospect of actually solving or managing most of the snowballing global problems and crises we’re hurtling towards
            • We’ve accepted that some large fraction of those problems will go unsolved and unmanaged, and result in a drastic but unevenly distributed reduction in quality of life for most of humanity over the next few decades
            From Weekly Filet #414, in October 2022.

              9 astonishing ways that living standards have improved around the world

              Past progress doesn’t guarantee continued progress, let alone progress without setbacks. However, looking back at the progress humanity has achieved over the past two centuries should inspire us, especially when times feel darker than usual. I’m fairly sure most of you will learn new things in this overview, and be astonished. Then pause for a moment and try to imagine what might be possible in the next 50 years, 100 years, 200 years.

              From Weekly Filet #414, in October 2022.

                What’s everyone got against throwing soup?

                I’ll be honest, my first reaction was: Well, that’s not gonna help 🙄. And judging by most of the coverage on two climate activists throwing soup at a Van Gogh painting, that has been a common first reaction. My second reaction, though, was: Hm, how sure am I about this? This article is one of very few that took the time to go deeper and look at actual evidence. Turns out: «Despite many people claiming that disruptive or radical protests have negative impacts on a movement’s likelihood of winning, the evidence suggests the opposite is true: Nonviolent radical tactics are likely to increase support for more moderate groups, in ways that increase an overall movement’s chance of achieving their aims.» Apparently, it’s called the radical flank effect.

                From Weekly Filet #414, in October 2022.

                  World’s whitest paint is now thin enough for cars, planes

                  You’ve probably heard of the world’s blackest black. So far, it has gotten excited mostly artists and designers. This week, I learned that there’s a race for the whitest white as well. It doesn’t look as cool as the blackest black, but its effect is cooler, or, well, cooling.

                  From Weekly Filet #414, in October 2022.