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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Politics

Flush With Cash, California Has Problems That Are No Quick Fix by Christopher Palmeri, Romy Varghese, and Laura Curtis (Bloomberg)

California has a budget surplus of nearly $50bn, California has lots of money to throw at a range of priorities which are steadily mounting, including homelessness and climate vulnerability. But lager problems, like a falling population and drought. [Link; soft paywall]

Women Legislators and Economic Performance by Thushyanthan Baskaran, Sonia R. Bhalotra, Brian K. Min, and Yogesh Uppal (SSRN)

The authors find areas that elect women to state legislative assemblies enjoy higher economic growth, with lower criminality and corruption, higher effectiveness, and lower political opportunism than their male counterparts. [Link]

Scarcity

A Simple Plan to Solve All of America’s Problems by Derek Thompson (The Atlantic)

Many of the economic problems of the last two years can be traced back to a failure to create abundance, which is easily attainable given American technology and productivity, but has not been the focus of policymaking or investment. [Link; soft paywall]

Supply-Chain Issues Leave New Homes Without Garage Doors and Gutters by Nicole Friedman (WSJ)

The ever-rising number of uncompleted homes is being driven by bottlenecks for a relatively small and inexpensive number of components which are preventing final completions of mostly-constructed new units. [Link; paywall]

COVID

Coronavirus Can Persist for Months After Traversing Body by Jason Gale (Bloomberg)

A new study reviewing autopsy results for 44 patients who died after contracting the virus reveals how serious infections can let the virus in to every one of the body’s organ systems. [Link; auto-playing video, soft paywall]

Cannabis compounds stopped COVID virus from infecting human cells in lab study by Kanoko Matsuyama (Fortune)

A new study shows that two different compounds fund in hemp may prevent COVID from entering in to human cells, making them a potential treatment for the disease. [Link; soft paywall]

Multiple Sclerosis

Longitudinal analysis reveals high prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus associated with multiple sclerosis by Bjornevik et al (Science)

A landmark study of US military personnel identifies the Epstein-Barr virus (which causes mononucleosis) as an extremely likely cause of multiple sclerosis. The study shows a 32-fold increase in risk of developing MS after infection with Esptein-Barr. [Link; paywall]

Trucks

Tesla Cybertruck Is Delayed Again, This Time Indefinitely by Nick Yekikian (Edmunds)

After being announced in 2019, Tesla expected its pickup truck to start deliveries by the end of 2021. But now the company has removed references to 2022 deliveries from its site, and nobody knows when the actual release will come. [Link]

Extreme RVs Grow Bigger, Bolder With Younger Consumers by Hannah Elliott (Bloomberg)

Glamping, meet tramping: adventure-seeking younger car buyers are leaving civilization and buying increasingly large and well-equipped vehicles to do it. [Link; soft paywall]

Fads

These TikTok Stars Made More Money Than Many of America’s Top CEOs by Josephy Pisani and Theo Francis (WSJ)

The highest-paid personalities on Tik Tok earn tens of millions per year, making them much better-paid than most large publicly traded companies. [Link; paywall]

Wordle Is a Love Story by Daniel Victor (NYT)

A once-a-day word guessing game has exploded in popularity, turning an idle side project for a Brooklyn software engineer into an obsession for hundreds of thousands of users. If you’d like to try your luck, you can play the game here. [Link; soft paywall]

Investors are paying millions for virtual land in the metaverse by Chris DiLella and Andrea Day (CNBC)

Real estate in the metaverse is selling for millions as investors eagerly anticipate a gold rush of users into virtual environments. [Link]

Economics

Don’t Extrapolate From This Fake Business Cycle by Dario Perkins (TS Lombard)

An argument that the data on the current economy is totally unique, with convincing arguments as to why the pandemic era is not a good indicator of longer-term economic trends or trajectories. [Link]

Climate Change

The 100th Meridian, Where the Great Plains Begin, May Be Shifting by Kevin Krajick (Columbia Climate Society)

The barrier between the humid, fertile east and the arid, dry west has historically run north-south along the 100th meridian. But desertification and climate change may be starting to shift that divide to the east, changing crop yields and drying out the plains. [Link]

Network Effects

Why Apple’s iMessage Is Winning: Teens Dread the Green Text Bubble by Tim Higgins (WSJ)

Younger mobile users fear being branded with the green bubble, illustrating the extremely strong network effects of the iMessage and broader iOS ecosystem Apple controls. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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