Science non-fiction

+ Why we cry, Questions to ask yourself every decade, We're a curious bunch of pessimists (#420)

Are you the kind of person that buys gifts early? Or are you someone who'd love to be early, but always ends up having to find gifts last minute? Either way, I have good news for you. It takes no more than 2 minutes to buy someone a gift membership for the Weekly Filet. You can do it now and they'll be notified at a future date you choose, December 25 for example. It's a great gift for anyone who likes to have their mind tickled and their views challenged. For $40, it's a gift that keeps on giving for an entire year.

And with that, onwards to this week's recommendations...

1. I trained an AI chatbot on my childhood journal entries...

Imagine you could chat with your childhood self. What would you like to ask? What could you learn about your current self? How would it feel? This is the story of coder/artist/scientist Michelle Huang who fed an artificial intelligence her childhood diaries and taught it to emulate her «inner child». With all these AI models rapidly progressing, reality is catching up with science fiction faster than ever. I'm equal parts intrigued and scared.

Twitter thread from @michellehuang42 | annotated by David
i trained an ai chatbot on my childhood journal entries - so that i could engage in real-time dialogue with my “inner child” some reflections below:

2. The Collateral Damage in China’s COVID War

«For all countries, COVID-19 of course remains a public health problem. But for China, the chief risks of the virus have become less epidemiological than political and economic.» Published in May this year, this analysis provides a lot of context on the protests currently happening in China.

The Collateral Damage in China’s COVID War
Are Beijing’s harsh measures undermining its hold on power?

3. ​​Why we cry

A beautiful, interesting episode of Vox' Unexplainable podcast. It begins with the story of a man who realised he hadn't cried for years and challenged himself to cry once every day. Goes on to explain why humans cry at all. Reminded me of one of my all-time favourite recommendations in the Weekly Filet, The Topography of Tears from 2014.

Why we cry - Unexplainable
Humans seem to be the only animals that cry from emotion. What makes our tears so special?