Point of No Return

Tipping points, friendships, and other challenges in life. (#477)

1. Atlantic Ocean is headed for a tipping point

Tipping points in the climate system are a tricky beast. For one thing, tipping point sounds almost cute, when they indeed are points of no return with catastrophic consequences for humanity. Secondly, they mess with our sense of linearity: Even when things get worse, we expect them to get gradually worse. But when you walk towards a cliff, one step too much means things get worse in a rather non-gradual way. And third, even with ever improving prediction models, tipping points still come with a high level of uncertainty, which makes them easier to dismiss than other climate related bad news. A new study has found that one such tipping point might be closer than previously thought, and once reached will unfold more quickly than previously thought, with enormous consequences, especially for Europe. In The Conversation the authors of the study themselves present their findings and what they mean.

Atlantic Ocean is headed for a tipping point − once melting glaciers shut down the Gulf Stream, we would see extreme climate change within decades, study shows
Scientists now have a better understanding of the risks ahead and a new early warning signal to watch for.

2. Reimagining Life with Friendship at the Center

A conversation about the other significant others.

Reimagining Life with Friendship at the Center
The Other Significant Others

3. How I got scammed

It's safe to consider Cory Doctorow, author and technology journalist, fairly well-versed with digital security. This is the story of how he got tricked into giving away his credit card details, and how AI is making things worse (but not in the way you think).

Pluralistic: How I got scammed (05 Feb 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow

4. When an immovable fact meets an unstoppable feeling

A poignant bit of advice on how you «cannot change a feeling with a fact», neither in science communication nor in personal relationships.

When an immovable fact meets an unstoppable feeling
file under: SOLICITED ADVICE. this one is from: LIZ. When my husband and I were invited to join Slate’s Dear Prudence podcast, I was thrilled to be tasked…

5. How AI is rapidly advancing new materials for clean energy

Very interesting podcast episode on how artificial intelligence is helping to discover new materials, and how those move forward solar, batteries and other clean energy tech.

AI is already advancing new materials for solar, batteries, and more | Latitude Media
‘Without AI, we’re stuck in first, and we need to be driving a Ferrari top speed.’

What else?

Instant-gratification links that make you go wow! or aha! the moment you click.

Books for curious minds: The Sixth Extinction

The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert (2014)

Even after reading dozens of books on the climate crisis, I can’t think of a better one. Kolbert skillfully weaves together scientific research and captivating storytelling to convey the alarming reality of human-induced environmental destruction. What sets it apart is that it doesn’t just help you understand the climate crisis, but it lets you feel it.

In every issue, I recommend one book. Some new ones as I read them, some older ones that continue to inform how I look at the world and myself.

A gem from the archive

Gloomy, spooky, beautiful. Long exposure shots of thousands of fireflies in the woods.

Flight Paths of Fireflies Made Visible in Beautiful Long Exposure Photo Series
Fireflies’ flight paths are visible in these beautiful long-exposure photos taken by photographer Yume Cyan in a forest near Nagoya, Japan.

This is a randomly picked gem from the archive of the Weekly Filet, going back to 2011. For manually curated time-tested treasures, have a look at my newly launched second newsletter This Aged Well.

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

— David 👋

PS: Enjoy the Weekly Filet? Give it a shout-out on social media or invite a friend to sign up. Share this page or open an email ready to send. Thank you!