Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.
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Winter Storm Elliott (PJM)
A detailed slide deck offering preliminary explanations for the collapse of most of the East Coast’s electrical grid offers some fascinating insight: an unprecedented demand surge came as a wide range of natural gas generators shut off amidst shortages of fuel. [Link; 32 page PDF]
U.S. Department of Energy rejects initial bids to resupply oil stockpile by Richard Valdmanis (Reuters)
A first round of bids to replace crude sold from the SPR has been rejected by the Department of Energy as the government fine-tunes its procedures for the unprecedented management of crude markets that sales and purchases have entailed. [Link]
US farmers win right to repair John Deere equipment by Monica Miller (BBC)
A memorandum of understanding between John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation has cleared the way for farmers to repair equipment that breaks down. [Link]
Exclusive: Surveillance Footage of Tesla Crash On SF’s Bay Bridge Hours After Elon Musk Announces “Self-Driving” Feature by Ken Klippenstein (The Intercept)
A Tesla that was using the “Full Self-Driving” feature enabled by Tesla this fall caused a major pile-up on a San Francisco freeway when it abruptly braked and moved in to another lane. [Link]
Food & Drink
Digital nomads now come first for Mexico City’s gig workers by Samuel Burleigh and Stpehania Corpi Arnaud (Rest of World)
Lured by the lower cost of living and high quality amenities that elite enclaves offer within Mexico City, foreign digital nomads are making waves with their bland tastes. [Link]
A Nonalcoholic Amaro ‘Falso’ From St. Agrestis by Florence Fabricant (NYT)
The latest offering for dry January is a zero-ABV “amaro” that mixes bitter botanicals and a hint of carbonation to replace the alcoholic version. [Link; soft paywall]
JPMorgan claims entrepreneur Charlie Javice duped bank into buying $175M startup: suit by Ariel Zilber (NYPost)
A financial planning site purchased by JPMorgan in 2021 overstated its customer count by almost 4mm, defrauding the bank in the course of its acquisition. [Link]
Goldman Sachs Advises Investors To Go Risk-Free In 2023 by Tracey Longo (Financial Advisor Magazine)
High yields in money market funds are stiff competition for risk assets per a Goldman Sachs analysis that advocates for skepticism towards risk assets this despite a torrid start to the year. [Link]
Chinese Bank Offers Customers Free mRNA Vaccine in Return for $500,000 Deposit (Bloomberg)
“Tier 3” customers get the luxury treatment, including not only top-of-the-line COVID vaccines but also discounts at the Four Seasons a chance to test drive a Bentley. [Link]
The ozone layer is on track to recover within decades as harmful chemicals are phased out, scientists report by Laura Paddison (CNN)
An international treaty has led to a 99% decline in the use of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer has been wildly successful, with expectations for full recovery by 2040. The results offer a hopeful model for climate action, including via geoengineering. [Link]
Riddle solved: Why was Roman concrete so durable? by David L. Chandler (MIT News)
Roman concrete included chunks of calcium carbonate thanks to its high-temperature manufacturing process. The result was a much stronger concrete than anything produced today. [Link]
House of Mouse
Disney Revises Pricing Policies at Its Parks by Brooks Barnes (NYT)
Theme parks will cut parking fees and reduce the number of park days offered at their lowest price but management insists they aren’t a reflection of softer demand. [Link; soft paywall]
Higher Rates and Tech Selloff Fuel Options Boom by Eric Wallerstein (WSJ)
The surge in options activity during the huge post-COVID bull market is sticking around, as investors are finding the derivatives just as useful for speculation to the downside as the upside. [Link; paywall]
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Have a great weekend!