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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Billionaire Whimsy

Elon Musk Has the World’s Strangest Social Calendar by Joseph Bernstein (NYT)

A categorization of the strange and fragmented social life enjoyed – or perhaps, not enjoyed – by the Tesla CEO, who hops from one fragmentary encounter to the next across a sea of private jet flights, galas, and VIP lounges. [Link; soft paywall]

‘I Am Energy’: Inside the Bang Billionaire’s Reeling Empire by Anders Melin (Bloomberg)

A heartrate-popping profile of an energy drink company taking on the giants of the industry fueled by the mashup of hype, energy, and shady dealings that scream “Florida” from top to bottom. [Link; soft paywall]


World Bank Cuts China Growth Forecast as Covid-19, Real-Estate Crunch Take Toll by Jason Douglas (WSJ)

The combination of collapsing property activity and restrictions on activity related to COVID-19 are suppressing Chinese growth that is also hampered by Fed tightening. [Link; paywall]

Ocean plastics: How much do rich countries contribute by shipping their waste overseas? by Hannah Ritchie (Our World In Data)

A ban on imports of plastic waste to China has helped push down global plastics trade volumes dramatically, helping to reduce the volume of plastic being transported by sea and therefore plastic waste that makes it in to oceans. [Link]

Labor Relations

Exxon’s Exodus: Employees Have Finally Had Enough of Its Toxic Culture by Kevin Crowley (Bloomberg)

A revealing narrative that illustrates how pressure on companies to decarbonize or behave more ethically often comes internally, rather than externally from investors following the precepts of ESG investing. [Link; soft paywall]

Medical Marvels

Human hibernation is a real possibility – this is how it might work by Alex Wilkins (NewScientist)

Our ancient ancestors may have hibernated, a common survival strategy among mammals. Dormant brain paths may be the key to recovering that ability which has since been lost. [Link; paywall]

How a Diabetes Drug Became the Talk of Hollywood, Tech and the Hamptons by Sara Ashley O’Brien (WSJ)

A drug meant to help manage Type 2 diabetes is being used off-label for weight loss; another drug that uses a similar active ingredient is approved for weight loss among those with clinical weight management challenges. [Link; paywall]


Biden Proposal Could Lead to Employee Status for Gig Workers by Noam Scheiber (NYT)

A proposed rulemaking by the Labor Department would create a test to determine whether gig workers are employees or contractors, opening up a potential requirement to pay benefits and minimum wages at scale. [Link; soft paywall]

It’s Official: The Fed’s in the Red by Tracy Alloway (Bloomberg)

Rising payouts of interest amidst a stable yield on portfolio securities mean the Federal Reserve is now recording operating losses on a weekly basis. [Link; soft paywall]

How California’s Bullet Train Went Off the Rails by Ralph Vartabedian (NYT)

Good old fashioned corruption turned a laudable effort at building a high speed rail link into a boondoggle of historic proportions. [Link; soft paywall]


Black Hole Pukes Up Star Years After Eating It by Isaac Schultz (Gizmodo)

After gobbling down a star three years ago, a black hole spit back up material at half the speed of light. Scientists are trying to understand why. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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