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.

Social Studies

The Little College Where Tuition Is Free and Every Student Is Given a Job by Adam Harris (The Atlantic)

A Kentucky college founded by an abolitionist Presbyterian minister in 1855 (and also the first co-educational, racially integrated) has no tuition. Every student works, on tasks from janitorial services to academic instruction. 45% of its students have no debt, despite 90% being Pell Grant-eligible. [Link]

Anti-social Punishment by Martin Sustrik (Less Wrong)

This article summarizes a study that shows how people across different cultures respond to collective action failures. Most interestingly, they identify cultures where defectors (using the language of game theory) who are punished for “anti-social” behavior punish back, effectively negating the social benefits of punishment. [Link]

The History of Philosophy: Summarized & Visualized (Deniz Cem Önduygu)

A fantastic chronological summary of the major ideas developed by Western philosophers, including ties which show who disagreed or agreed with whom over time. [Link]


Trump Says Blame ‘Loco’ Fed, Not China Trade War, for Sell-Off by Justin Sink and Shannon Pettypiece (Bloomberg)

In a relatively uncommon – but hardly unprecedented – discussion of Fed policy by a sitting President, Trump attacked the interest rate normalization policy of the Federal Reserve. [Link; soft paywall]

As feds focused on detaining kids, border drug prosecutions plummeted by Brad Heath (USAToday)

Resources are fungible, so a pivot by DoJ to focus on the lowest-level immigration offenses has led to a collapse in the number of prosecutions brought against drug traffickers. [Link]

Beto O’Rourke May Benefit From an Unlikely Support Group: White Evangelical Women by Elizabeth Dias (NYT)

While polling for the Texas Senate race is only sort of close, Democrat Beto O’Rourke may be finding success in breaking off a small slice of the solidly Republican Evangelical voting block. [Link; soft paywall]


These Magical Sunglasses Block All The Screens Around You by Arielle Pardes (Wired)

Perfect for folks who want to escape the never-ending rush of digital imposition, these new glasses block the light thrown off by screens. [Link; soft paywall]

Global Supply Chains

You buy a purse at Walmart. There’s a note inside from a “Chinese prisoner.” Now what? by Rossalyn A. Warren (Vox)

An investigation of a note found in a purse bought from Wal-Mart that reveals some of the hard truths of global consumer goods manufacturing: labor used to make clothes, electronics, and other goods is not always willingly provided. [Link]

Capital Flows

Reflections On A Decade of Private Cross-Border Acquisitions of U.S. Debt by stwill1 (Concentrated Ambiguity)

A massive set of posts devoted to understanding the current state of US fixed income buying by investors abroad. [Link]


Moons can have moons and they are called moonmoons by Leah Crane (New Scientist)

While we haven’t actually observed a moon with a moon of its own, astronomers have already decided the name for such a body is the adorable if somewhat uncreative “moonmoon”. [Link; soft paywall]


Today (maybe) in European history: the Battle of Tours (probably 732) by Derek Davidson (And That’s The Way It Was)

An excellent review of the historical evidence – surprisingly scanty – related to the battle which some historians believe prevented further Muslim expansion in Western Europe beyond the Ummayyad Caliphate in El Andalus. [Link]

Implicit Bias

Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women by Jeffrey Dastin (Reuters)

The biggest problem with algorithms isn’t their biases but the biases of people that design them and the data they are used to train on. In an excellent example of this phenomenon, Amazon recently scrapped a machine-learning tool used for recruiting that introduced biases against women. [Link]


Morgan Stanley: Belief in ‘American exceptionalism’ among global investors has never been higher by Michelle Fox (CNBC)

Investors are betting heavily on US outperformance, and to a degree that’s historically bullish on the prospects for US capital markets relative to the rest of the world’s. [Link]

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Have a great Sunday!

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