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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Amazon and Big Apartment Landlords Strike Deals on Package Delivery by Laura Kusisto (WSJ)

In the latest round of innovation and experimentation from Amazon, large apartment complexes are introducing “hubs”; lockers for pick-up of goods shipped by the online giant. [Link; paywall]

The War To Sell You A Mattress Is An Internet Nightmare by David Zax (Fast Company)

Online mattress sales are booming, fueled by marketing tactics that range from the extremely aggressive to the absolutely absurd. [Link]

Brave New World

Stunning AI Breakthrough Takes Us One Step Closer to the Singularity by George Dvorsky (Gizmodo)

The complexity of Go was long thought to be a refuge for the human intellect, but the AI program which first beat a human grand master of the game has now gotten completely demolished by a much stronger version of the program. [Link]

This Is What A 21st-Century Police State Really Looks Like by Megha Rajagopalan (Buzzfeed)

A harrowing review of the crackdown on personal freedoms being suffered by the residents of Tianjian, China’s westernmost province with a large Muslim minority population. [Link]

Key Reinstallation Attacks (Krack Attacks)

This week, security researchers unveiled the troubling finding that wifi networks are much, much less secure than previously assumed. [Link]

Feeding the Hungry

After Maria, José Andrés and his team have prepared more hot meals in Puerto Rico than the Red Cross by Tim Carman (WaPo)

Since late September, chef José Andrés and his charity World Central Kitchen have served one million hot meals to Puerto Ricans. [Link; soft paywall]

A Philando Castile Memorial Fund Has Wiped Out All Student Lunch Debt in St. Paul by Rafi Schwartz (Splinter)

After the tragic killing of cafeteria supervisor Philando Castille, a charity set up in his memory started paying off lunch debts. It’s now cleared the slate of every school child in arrears for the whole city. [Link]


Special Report: Backroom battle imperils $230 million cryptocurrency venture by Anna Irrera, Steve Stecklow, and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi (Reuters)

In a tale as old as mediums of exchange, the huge no-strings-attached fundraising of the Tezos ICO created an incredible amount of human drama. [Link]

An Evening in Wonderland by Josh Brown (The Reformed Broker)

A good summary of the optimistic side of the crptocurrency world, where the sky is the limit and anything is possible (hypothetically, anyways). [Link]


Zhou Warns China Should Defend Against Threat of ‘Minsky Moment’ (Bloomberg)

Remarkably forthright and contingently negative commentary from a sitting PBoC official suggests that Chinese policymakers are well aware of what to avoid. [Link; auto-playing video]

Coming of age in an era of prosperity: Meet China’s ‘bubble generation’ by John Ruwitch and Anita Li (Reuters)

While the generation currently in power in China can remember the hardships of the pre-development system, their children don’t and will soon begin to take the reins. [Link]


Top Three Reasons the Corporate Loan Market Is Slumping in 2017 by Jacqueline Poh (Bloomberg)

Weak M&A activity, non-bank lending is ramping up, and corporate balance sheets are loaded with cash, making it hard for banks to find willing borrowers. [Link]

Volatility and the Alchemy of Risk (Artemis Capital Management)

We don’t necessarily agree with all the points made in this long, comprehensive market summary and outlook, but it does have some interesting data and makes for a unique read. [Link; 19 page PDF]

Fake Science News

Here’s How A Controversial Study About Kids And Cookies Turned Out To Be Wrong — And Wrong Again by Stephanie M. Lee (Buzzfeed)

Cornell professor Brian Wansink has once again been caught up falsifying data, this time misrepresenting the ages of subjects in studies related to making healthy food choices. [Link]

UK Politics

People Keep Trying To Start Pro-EU British Centrist Movements On Twitter by Mark Di Stefano & Jim Waterson (Buzzfeed)

In a weird episode this week, an Economist journalist accidentally started a political party. [Link]


This is the handwriting of Nepalese Yr 8 student Prakriti Malla which was recognised as the most beautiful handwriting in the world #writing by Dr Kirstin Ferguson (Twitter)

We’re blown away by the precision, intricacy, and aesthetic of this script. [Link]

The Lost Art of the Unsent Angry Letter by Maria Konnikova (NYT)

An ode to fiery script and penned vitriol written but never delivered, as has been the practice of Presidents, Prime Ministers, and other notables throughout history. [Link; soft paywall]

Economic Development

Can Sub-Saharan Africa Be a Manufacturing Destination? by Vijaya Ramachandran (Center for Global Development)

While Sub-Saharan Africa has extremely low GDP per capita, its labor costs relative to GDP are extremely high; that could be a huge hurdle for the growth of the African manufacturing sector. [Link]


Expansion Could Trigger Realignment, Longer Postseason by Tracy Ringolsby (Baseball America)

The addition of big league teams to Portland and Montreal could bring about a 32 team league, with 4 divisions of 8 teams, more rest for players, and a wider postseason slate. [Link]


The iPhone 7 is reportedly outselling the iPhone 8 by Gordon Gottsegen (CNet)

With a staggered release of two phones, Apple appears to have pushed off consumer demand for the iPhone X, whose release is still pending. [Link]

Helpful Carrion

The Crowbar (Crowded Cities)

A remarkable project that seeks to train crows to fetch cigarette butts. [Link]


Everything bagel seasoning is now on everything by Nicole Levy (AM New York)

The story of where the New York essential came from, or at least, where one man claims to have invented it. [Link]

Have a great Sunday!

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