The World, reshaped

Will human language be relegated to a last-mile artifact? And why are children born in autumn less likely to kill their grandparents? (#450)

Welcome to what is indeed already issue number 450 of the Weekly Filet. I hope it's still true what one longtime reader once said about it: «Every week, it’s a treasure trove full of serendipity — which makes it truly one of the best places on the internet.» Thanks Florian, for setting a bar I keep in mind every time I write the newsletter. And thanks everyone else who is following along.

1. How a Vast Demographic Shift Will Reshape the World

2050 has become a symbol for the human quest to kick the fossil fuel addiction. However, there's another challenge waiting by then. The average population in the Western world will be old, very old. And for many Asian countries, there's an even trickier challenge: They are «becoming old before they become rich». (Gift link so you can read it without a subscription)

How a Vast Demographic Shift Will Reshape the World
The most powerful countries have benefited from large work forces for decades. What happens when they retire?

2. Everyone’s Making Money On The Women’s World Cup—Except The Women

The women's football world cup has kicked off this week. It's bigger than ever before, and good money to be made. But the players still earn way less than their male counterparts. This Bloomberg podcast explains why that is.

Everyone’s Making Money On The Women’s World Cup—Except The Women - Bloomberg
Understand every aspect of the global economy – and know how to make your next move.

3. Life After Language​​

An excellent piece on what it means for our languages when more and more communication is between computers. Quote: «It seems obvious to me that machines will communicate with each other in a much more expressive and efficient latent language, closer to a mind-meld than communication, and human language will be relegated to a last-mile artifact used primarily for communicating with humans.»

Life After Language
In October 2013, I wrote a post arguing that computing was disrupting language and that this was the Mother of All Disruptions. My specific argument was that human-to-human communication was an ove…

4. Jes, Baguette

From the Everything is Alive podcast, an interview with a baguette. Hey, it's the internet, there's nothing that doesn't exist. And it's actually quite good.

Jes, Baguette
Jes is a baguette, and they were made to share.

5. Freakonomics, But for Medicine

Large marathons increase the risk of dying for people living in that city. Children born in autumn are less likely to kill their grandparents. An emergency room visit on the wrong side of your 18th birthday increases your risk of opioid addiction. An interview full of interesting examples of so called «natural experiments».

Freakonomics, But for Medicine
Why marathons can be bad for those who don’t run them, and how birthdate impacts opioid addiction.

What else?

A gem from the archive

This part of history should be more widely known. The story of one scientist who caused two environmental disasters and the deaths of millions (to call it «accidentally» is a bit of a misnomer; once you learn that your invention is harmful, but keep promoting it, what follows isn’t accidental).

The Man Who Accidentally Killed The Most People In History
One scientist caused two environmental disasters and the deaths of millions. A part of this video is sponsored by Wren. Offset your carbon footprint on Wren:…

At first glance, the crescent Earth looks like the Moon. Yet looking closely, we can see Australia near the centre, and part of Antarctica at the bottom. Throughout the year, I end 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.

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

— David 👋