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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First off, our week 10 picks.


Why Does It Take So Long To County Ballots? (Arizona Secretary of State)

Given vote tabulations are still under way in a number of states, four days after election night, this explanation of what takes Arizona specifically so long to count is very helpful. [Link]

An 82-year-old Texas woman voted for the first time. Then she died. by Lindsey Bever (WaPo)

The heartwarming story of a North Texas woman who managed to make it to the polls for the first time in her life just days before she passed away. [Link; soft paywall]

How Fox News Called the 2018 Midterms Before Rivals by Brian Steinberg (Variety)

Fox News got way ahead of the rest of the field in calling that the House would be won by Democrats on Tuesday night; here’s a the story of that early call. [Link]


Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer become kingmakers for Democrats as both billionaires mull a 2020 run by Brian Schwartz (CNBC)

Billionaire former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg saw 21 of the 24 House candidates his PAC supported win on Tuesday, while Steyer helped flip at least 12 races with his support. [Link]


Did Scott Walker And Donald Trump Deal Away The Wisconsin Governor’s Race To Foxconn? By Dan Kaufman (The New Yorker)

This piece was published a few days ahead of the midterm elections and race for governor in Wisconsin, but it was prescient as Walker lost his re-election bid at least in part thanks to the catastrophic boondoggle Foxconn’s new factory is turning into. A cautionary tale about the race to the bottom attracting large employers. [Link]

Their Soybeans Piling Up, Farmers Hope Trade War Ends Before Beans Rot by Binyamin Appelbaum (NYT)

It’s worth pointing out that soybeans can be stored for years without rotting, so the headline to this story is a bit excessive, but the general gist of pain in the farm economy exacerbated by tariffs is noteworthy. [Link; soft paywall]


Why ‘Free Trading’ on Robinhood Isn’t Really Free by Alexander Osipovich and Lisa Beilfuss (WSJ)

By receiving a rebate for directing trades to specific venues, Robinhood makes it possible to execute trades commission free, but that creates hidden costs for customers which aren’t immediately clear. [Link]

Spicy Distributions by Jamie Catherwood (Medium)

One of the best dividends ever: mace, pepper, and nutmeg handed out to investors in the Dutch East India company when it couldn’t come up with cash. [Link]

3 Things to Know About Factor Investing, an Increasingly Popular Way to Invest by Evie Liu (Barron’s)

Passive investors have started to shift invested dollars towards factors, which seek to generate active outperformance coupled with passive costs. [Link; paywall]


Where to Find Treasury Buyers? Not Asia by Daniel Kruger (WSJ)

Investors in Asia are much less interested in US Treasury debt than they have been previously, with foreigners buying Treasury debt at half the pace they did last year worldwide despite a huge uptick in issuance. [Link; paywall]

Once an Optimist on U.S.-China Relations, Henry Paulson Delivers a Sobering Message by Greg Ip (WSJ)

On Wednesday in Singapore, Paulson warned that “a long winter” could be brewing between the US and China, despite a long career aimed at bolstering engagement between the two countries. [Link; paywall]

China Telecom’s Internet Traffic Misdirection by Doug Madory (Internet Intel)

Large amounts of internet traffic (including US-US traffic) have been filtering through China Telecom, in a possible (but not definitive) effort to intercept traffic; the more speculative Naval War College paper (link; 11 page PDF is also worth a read). [Link]

Tech Troubles

Facebook Portal Non-Review: Why I Didn’t Put Facebook’s Camera in My Home by Joanna Stern (WSJ)

When even technology reporters are skeptical about the idea of letting you into their home to review your products, you may have a public relations problem. [Link; paywall]

Instagram Can’t Hide Behind Facebook Anymore by Scott Greer (Medium)

While the larger Facebook brand has been hit by privacy concerns, Instagram has been bulletproof, but the parent company’s concerns may trickle down along with the massive ad load. [Link]

The Tech Backlash Just Hit San Francisco. Where Next? by Nitasha Tiku (Wired)

A review of the current tug-of-war between tech and politics, especially popular politics, after the passage of Prop C (which taxes revenue of roughly 400 companies in order to double San Francisco’s homeless services budget). [Link]

Amazon Said No to Cactus, Yes to Data in Hunt for New Office by Olivia Carville and Spencer Soper (Bloomberg)

Instead of bestowing a brand new headquarters on a single city and becoming a lynchpin of the local economy, Amazon split the difference between either end of the Acela Corridor in Washington, DC and New York City. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]


Dubai police training on flying motorbikes ahead of planned 2020 launch (Sky News)

Ever wanted to get into a high speed chase in three, rather than a boring old two, dimensions? Head to Dubai, where cops will start flying hoverbikes in 2020. [Link]

About (Caselaw Access Project)

CAP is trying to publish every piece of American law from 1658 to 2018, machine-readable and full of metadata. [Link]


You Do the Math: Can May Get Her Brexit Deal Through Parliament? by Robert Hutton (Bloomberg)

In order to confirm the possible Brexit deal currently being negotiated UK PM Theresa May she’ll have to fight for roughly 85 votes which currently look very hard to win. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]


The Power of Explanation by nifteynei (Foolproof Ink)

A review of systems of information and how they help us think about the world, as well as how they can help reveal other truths. [Link]

Meet the Press: Survey Evidence on Financial Journalists As Information Intermediaries by Andrew C. Call, Scott A. Emett, Eldar Maksymov, and Nathan Y. Sharp (SSRN)

A large study of financial markets reporters, which shows incentives to produce original information, largely informed by sell-side analysts, and further incentives for accurate, timely, and informative reporting while also having incentives for quid pro quo with sources at companies. [Link]

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Have a great Sunday!

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