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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New York Fed President Sent Puerto Rico a Jet Filled With Cash by Jonathan Levin (Bloomberg)

Liquidity is the lifeblood of activity, and when the New York Fed realized how devastating Maria would be to Puerto Rico, it immediately took steps to insure there would be enough cash available on the island. [Link; auto-playing video]

Bitcoin is fiat money, too (The Economist)

While bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies claim to remove the interference of central banks and other interventions in the money supply. But consensus-built code platforms have the same foibles; nothing is new. [Link]

Disaster & Tragedy

In a smoldering California winery, a boiling river of red wine emerges by AJ Willingham (CNN)

As well as the tragic human toll (more than 30 deaths) the horrific wildfires in California have also laid waste to local commerce, sometimes in near-biblical metaphoric terms. [Link; auto-playing video]

Lawsuit Over Las Vegas Shooting Tests Gun Industry’s Immunity by Polly Mosendz (Bloomberg)

While Congress has granted immunity to gun makers and ammunition sellers, the maker of the bump stock that allowed for high rates of fire in the Las Vegas mass shooting may become a test case. [Link; auto-playing video]

Natural Disasters and the Measurement of Industrial Production: Hurricane Harvey, a Case Study by Kimberly Bayard, Ryan Decker, and Charles Gilbert (FEDS Notes)

An assessment of the impact of Hurricane Harvey on national industrial production, with special focus on the petroleum and refining industries so concentrated in Houston. [Link]

District Chaos

Is Washington bungling the Census? by Danny Vinik (Politico)

The state of federal statistical agencies is dire, and it’s entirely due to neglect of funding. High value data is a fantastic return on investment for public dollars, and it’s being brutally neglected. [Link]

An old-school pharmacy hand-delivers drugs to Congress, a little-known perk for the powerful by Erin Mershon (Stat News)

A seemingly benign story filled with some frankly concerning details about the state of lawmakers’ health. [Link]

Demographic Change

A Town’s Dilemma—Find a Savior, or Just Move On by Shibani Mahtani (WSJ)

A survey of the impact of closing public housing in relatively small towns that benefit from labor supply, labor demand, and the flow of money that comes from SNAP, Medicaid, and other programs that many public housing residents depend on. [Link; paywall]

First Evidence That Online Dating Is Changing the Nature of Society (MIT Technology Review)

More than one-third of American marriages started as online dates; for some demographics, it’s a much more dramatic story with nearly 70% of same-sex couples meeting online. There are some interesting effects, including drastically higher rates of interracial marriage. [Link]

USDOT Releases 2016 Fatal Traffic Crash Data (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Data released this week by the DOT shows a concerning uptick in road fatalities including a 5.6% uptick in total deaths. Most subcategories rose by less than that amount, with decreases in drowsy and distracted deaths (so cellphones aren’t to blame). Pedestrian fatalities soared by 9% to the highest count since 1990. [Link]


Computer virus hits US Predator and Reaper drone fleet by Noah Shachtman (Ars Technica)

The machines which allow Air Force personnel to operate drones across the world have been infected with viruses, and data could have potentially been breached. [Link]

New Financial Products

Goldman Has a New Way for You to Bet on the Next Banking Crisis by Alastair Marsh and Tom Beardsworth (Bloomberg)

Goldman and JP Morgan are ramping up trading in total return swaps based on indices of bank bonds which can be marked down or converted to equity during periods of financial stress. [Link]


California’s Breakup With the NFL by Andrew Beaton (WSJ)

After moving up from San Diego, the LA Chargers can’t fill a 27,000 seat soccer stadium, while LA Rams and San Francisco 49ers fans are similarly disinterested this season. [Link]

Social Media

Weibo in meltdown over heartthrob Luhan’s new girlfriend by Laurie Chen (South China Morning Post)

Weibo isn’t very popular outside of China, but the network is massive behind the Great Firewall and its users went absolutely wild over a pretty germane piece of news this week. [Link]

Have a great Sunday!

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