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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Clean Energy

Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is ‘Very Likely to Work,’ Studies Suggest by Henry Fountain (NYT)

“Hot” fusion has been the energy of the future for decades, and there’s no reason to suspect that it’ll come soon, but recent research is showing some modest progress. [Link; soft paywall]

Solar’s Future is Insanely Cheap (2020) by Ramez Naam (Ramez Naam)

An overview of the absolutely staggering rate of decline in solar prices and why those declines are likely to continue, pushing the cost of new solar watts far below the operating cost of natural gas and coal plants. [Link]


University lockdowns: a whole new way to fail young people by Robert Shrimsley (FT)

Frustration over steps to reduce transmission of COVID on university campuses after a failure to introduce a mass testing regime in the UK. [Link; paywall]

The Students Left Behind By Remote Learning by Alex MacGillis (The NYer)

As with so many aspects of COVID, the costs of remote learning are not born evenly by wealth and lower income students. [Link]

‘Roadschooling’ 101: Families Make Remote Learning Work in an RV by Julie Jargon (WSJ)

Families that can afford it are taking advantage of remote schooling to hit the road, spending months wandering American roads and national parks with pauses for video chats. [Link; paywall]

Teachers Find Higher Pay and Growing Options in Covid Pods by Nancy Keates (WSJ)

Higher-income families are getting together for small-group learning with private teachers that bypass many of the risks of the public school system. [Link; paywall]

Retail Investing

A 32-Year-Old Trader Is Driving 21,000 Amateur Stock Investors by Edward Robinson and Justina Lee (Bloomberg)

A feature allowing users to automatically copy trades of other platform users has fueled growth for UK-Israeli brokerage eToro. [Link; soft paywall]

The Rise of Retail Investing In The U.S. (Morning Consult)

A highly-detailed, very long overview of the retail investment landscape: what motivates retail investors, who they are, and how they use investing platforms. [Link; 55 page PDF]

New Swath Of ETF Closures Fuels Record Pace by Heather Bell (ETF.com)

It shouldn’t be a surprise that an industry which innovates as quickly as ETFs do with a huge proliferation of products also cuts losers, and that’s what’s been going on lately. [Link]

Local Challenges

Vermont was making progress against opioid deaths. Then coronavirus hit. by Hilary Swift and Abby Goodnough (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Opioid-related deaths are surging across the country as the disruption of COVID drives current and recovering addicts into despair and spirals of use which too often end in tragedy. [Link]

‘Crisis point’: How the Gallatin Valley’s hot housing market leaves people behind by Melissa Loveridge (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

Homes in Gallatin County, Montana are surging thanks to COVID; the median single-family home is listed for $575,450 in August, almost 10x median income for the county. [Link]


Some Travelers Miss Flying So Much, They’re Taking Planes to Nowhere by Dasl Yoon and Joyu Wang (WSJ)

Travelers are taking flights to nowhere, sometimes facilitated by package “tours” that don’t involve actually landing, in a desperate bid to regain a sense of normalcy. [Link; paywall]

Amazon jumps into virtual tourism, offering live one-on-one experiences around the world by Todd Bishop (GeekWire)

Remote tourism is a brand new concept that AirBnB has already introduced and Amazon is now putting into beta, allowing walking tours, cooking classes, and other experiences from the comfort of home. [Link]

False Positives

Clinical evaluation and diagnostic yield following evaluation of abnormal pulse detected using Apple Watch by Kirk D Wyatt, Lisa R Poole, Aidan F Mullan, Stephen L Kopecky, and Heather A Heaton (JAMIA)

Only 11% of patients whose Apple Watches alerted them to an abnormal pulse received an explicit diagnosis, suggesting the device could create over-use of health care by Apple Watch owners. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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