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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Supply Chains

How to fix the port traffic jam by Ryan Petersen (ThreadReader App)

A detailed plan that will help alleviate the traffic jam at the ports in Southern California which is creating huge feedback loops through the entire trans-Pacific trade network and the rest of the global economy. [Link]

Biden Races Clock and Holds Few Tools in Supply-Chain Crisis by Josh Wingrove, Jill R Shah, and Brendan Case (Bloomberg)

Most of the problems that led to the supply chain snarl up are rooted in years of underinvestment and there are no quick fixes that can be quickly pushed by the White House or anybody else. [Link; soft paywall]

New Business Models

Selling Cars in the Era of the Chip Shortage: Online Chats and No More Haggling by Patrick Thomas (WSJ)

With inventories extremely tight, automakers are trying to match production to demand as closely as possible. That’s led to a much different buying experience than the traditional model of purchase out of dealer inventory. [Link; paywall]

Net Promoter 3.0 by Fred Reichheld, Darci Darnell, and Maureen Burns (Harvard Business Review)

An explanation of how net promoter scores (“How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend?”) have a complementary accounting concept, and how they tie together. [Link]

Business Travel’s Demise Could Have Far-Reaching Consequences by Alana Semuels (Time)

The demise of business travel is likely to be long-lasting, and that has major consequences for the way the travel industry functions as a whole given the premiums historically paid by people moving around the country on business. [Link]

Renewables

Bechtel, Hatch Win Leads on Australia-Singapore Power Megaproject by Mary B. Powers and Debra K. Rubin (ENR)

A massive solar-battery combined project in rural northern Australia will send power overland to Darwin, a port on Australia’s northern coast, via a 500 mile transmission line. From there, it will run all the way to Singapore via underwater cables (a total of 2600 miles). The massive storage project will be able to store 36-42 GWh of electricity and supply one-fifth of Singapore’s total power needs. [Link]

History

Viking Artifacts Give Precise Date for Europeans’ Earliest Presence in North America by Robert Lee Hotz (WSJ)

Wooden artifacts discovered in Newfoundland date back 1,000 years, almost half a millennium before Columbus is credited with “discovering” the Americas. The technique used is fascinating, relying on solar storms, tree rings, and radio carbon dating to arrive at an exact date that was much earlier than previous estimates. [Link; paywall]

Exotic Animal Japes

Officials hope to capture loose zebras with new plan involving even more zebras by Alanea Cremen (WUSA9)

A Maryland county is planning to lure zebras that escaped from a farm with the rest of the herd those exotic mammals escaped from. [Link]

Foreign Affairs

KGB archives show how Chrystia Freeland drew the ire (and respect) of Soviet intelligence services by Simon Miles (Globe & Mail)

During her time studying abroad in the Ukraine, current Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was surveilled by the Soviet Union’s secret police for her activity as a pro-democracy activist. [Link]

Real Estate

Will 4% Mortgage Rates “Halt the Housing Market”? by Bill McBride (Calculated Risk)

Some context on a prediction that the US is building too much housing relative to its population and that a move higher in interest rates will destroy home prices. [Link]

Flu Season

Walgreens Flu Index Shows Flu Activity Is Up 23 Percent Compared to Last Flu Season as People Return to More In-Person Activities (Yahoo!/BusinessWire)

The pharmacy chain is tracking a significant uptick in flu virus prevalence across the southern tier of the country after a year with record low flu activity thanks to masking and social distancing measures that helped prevent the spread of the more endemic virus as well as COVID. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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