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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The Future of Labor

Trapped in the Metaverse: Here’s What 24 Hours Feels Like by Joanna Stern (WSJ)

This video gives you an idea of what the world of working inside the offering of Meta (nee Facebook) might be like. [Link; paywall]

Six questions that could shape the future of the U.S. labor market by Jonnelle Marte (Reuters)

The COVID pandemic has driven a big shift in how the US labor market works. Here are some indicators and concepts to keep an eye on as the economy continues to evolve away from the pandemic recession. [Link]


How To Make A CPU – A Simple Picture Based Explanation (Robert Elder)

Ever curious where the chips which are fowling up so much of the global economy with their shortages come from? Here’s a step-by-step walk-through of how to make them from rock to final installation. Best of luck actually doing this yourself! [Link]

I Have Achieved a Glorious Victory Against the Music Industry and Twitter by Mark Joseph Stern (Slate)

While DMCA takedowns create all sorts of nuisance for social media users, there is a way to fight back; the author demonstrates the successful way to prove a point about fair use and copywrite laws. [Link]

Petty Crime

Scammer Convinced Instagram That Its Top Executive Was Dead by Joseph Cox (Vice)

In an illustration of how absurd the current management of social media networks has gotten, a scammer successfully managed to convince Instagram that their boss had died using a fake obituary. [Link]

‘It’s a great big mess’: Catalytic converter thefts rampant in the Bay Area by Michelle Roberson (SFGate)

An insurer reports thousands of catalytic converters (which prevent smog) are being stolen from California automobiles, with thefts more than doubling over the past year. [Link]

Conspicuous Consumption

The Mystery of the $2,000 Ikea Shopping Bag by Silvia Bellezza and Jonah Berger (Harvard Business Review)

Luxury brand Balenciaga offers a $2000 version of the ubiquitous reusable bags offered by Ikea, offering a fascinating insight into the psychology and branding of super high-priced goods. [Link]

The open secret to looking like a superhero by Alex Abad-Santos (Vox)

An investigation into the rampant use of steroids by men in Hollywood, which has become part of the cost of starring in shows or movies; the increase in steroid use also speaks to broader trends in mounting social pressures on men to conform to a specific body image. [Link]

Supply Chains

Bottlenecks: causes and macroeconomic implications by Daniel Rees and Phurichai Rungcharoenkitkul (BIS)

A helpful analysis about the macroeconomic effects of the pandemic and resulting bottlenecks in supply chains. [Link; 9 page PDF]

Thanksgiving Dinner Staples Are Low in Stock Thanks to Supply-Chain Issues by Stephanie Stamm (WSJ)

Turkeys, pies, and other Thanksgiving staples are hard to find on grocery store shelves this year as supply chain disruptions ripple through the economy. [Link; paywall]

Ancient Cooking

Culinary Detectives Try to Recover the Formula for a Deliciously Fishy Roman Condiment by Taras Grescoe (Smithsonian)

Romans were obsessed with a condiment called “garum”, which is similar to modern Asian fish sauces but involves a slightly different process. The umami-rich additive has finally been reproduced after falling out of favor over a thousand years ago. [Link]

Unintended Consequences

Investors Pushed Mining Giants to Quit Coal. Now It’s Backfiring by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg)

As larger, publicly-traded companies abandon coal under pressure from investors, smaller private companies willing to mine the carbon-heavy energy resource are stepping in to the fray. [Link; soft paywall]


Rich Millennials to Financial Advisers: Thanks for the Golf Invite, but You Can’t Invest My Money by Rachel Louise Ensign and Peter Rudegeair (WSJ)

Aggressive, liquid young investors are forgoing traditional money managers in favor of running their investments themselves. As the old aphorism goes: everyone’s a genius in a bull market. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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