It's bad. Maybe worse?

+ A world without endings, a strange world, the world's last internet cafés (#451)

Heads-up: This is the last newsletter issue before I'm off to short summer break in Slovenia. The Weekly Filet will be back on August 18.

If you need something to read while I'm away, there are plenty of great books recommended by your fellow newsletter readers, there's my own digital bookshelf, or if you prefer shorter reads: the archive with more than 2000 timeless gems, going all the way back to 2011.

But first, this week's recommendations.

1. What frightens me about the climate crisis is we don’t know how bad things really are

It's becoming harder and harder not to see the effects of global warming right here, right now (and if you only see then, you're still lucky enough not to feel them or suffer from them). From here, things will get worse. Indeed, they might already be worse than anticipated. «None of the observed changes so far (with a 1.2C temperature rise) are surprising. But they are more severe than we predicted 20 years ago, and more severe than the predictions of five years ago. We probably underestimated the consequences.»

What frightens me about the climate crisis is we don’t know how bad things really are | Roger Harrabin
As the barrage of bad news from places like Greece continues, all we can be certain of is there are many surprises lying ahead, says analyst Roger Harrabin

2. Ukraine tech sector goes to war

Interesting 30-minute documentary by the Financial Times on Ukraine's tech sector, a vital sector both for the economy and national security, at the same time serving customers abroad and serving the country's war effort at home.

Ukraine tech sector goes to war | FT Film
From the production of cheap battlefield drones to AI-powered missile detection, Ukrainian tech start-ups, IT workers and volunteers have been developing mil…

3. ​​Welcome to a World Without Endings

As a matter of fact, your reading experience of this short essay will end...when you encounter the paywall. I'm still sharing it, because I found the take more interesting than the actual essay. I goes like this: Generative artificial intelligence makes it possible to break the limits of any finite creation, thus creating a world without endings. Generate what's beyond the frame of the Mona Lisa, generate what comes after the finale of Succession. The author describes this fascination as «a worldview that looks upon restraint with confusion and sees self-imposed limitations as weakness [...] a mindset that cannot accept finality or limitations—which is to say that it cannot accept art itself.»

Welcome to a World Without Endings
Thanks to AI, every painting can now have an expanded border, every minor character a ChatGPT-written spinoff series.

4. Don’t Forget How Strange This All Is

«In our world, people sometimes take off all their that they can get radiation burns from a glowing ball in the sky.» A fun read to remind ourselves of the strangeness of the world we live in. Take home quote: «Everything is weird until it’s familiar.»

Don’t Forget How Strange This All Is
Jerry Seinfeld joked that if aliens came to earth and saw people walking dogs, they would assume the dogs are the leaders. The dog walks out front, and a gangly creature trailing behind him picks up his feces and carries it for him. Throughout my life I’ve had moments where I felt like one of these…

5. The World's Last Internet Cafés

I vividly remember my very first visit to an internet café. The awe and wonder of entering an exciting new world, through the most unassuming place imaginable. I had a sheet of paper with me, with long urls written down, of webpages I wanted to visit. Keystroke by keystroke I typed in those addresses, only to wait many long seconds for those pixels to assemble and show me...I can't remember what. I do remember that I left the café underwhelmed. Well, here I am, browsing the entire web so you don't have to...greatly enjoying this homage to the last internet cafés, from K@mandu to Kampala.

The World’s Last Internet Cafes
For a quarter century, internet cafes connected the world. Now they’re vanishing into history.

What else?

A gem from the archive

«Like getting a view out the window of an airplane 450 kilometers high.» Stunning images.«Like getting a view out the window of an airplane 450 kilometers high.» Stunning images.

Earth’s Wonders Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before
«Like getting a view out the window of an airplane 450 kilometers high.» Stunning images.

The moment when the sun disappears behind the Earth. Seen from Apollo 12, on November 24. Since the beginning of the year, I have ended each newsletter with an image of this amazing series, a true reminder of the beauty — and fragility — of the planet we live on. Credit: NASA, edited by Toby Ord. This will be the last image from this series, I'm starting something new in the next issue...

Thanks for reading. I wish you a nice weekend and hope to see you again next Friday!

— David 👋