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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I’m Scared of My Baby Monitor by Damon Beres (The Atlantic)

Many of the products billed as reducing stress or keeping us safe are better thought of as acute vectors for stress and anxiety that we otherwise wouldn’t have. [Link; soft paywall]

Britain Opened the Door to Online Gambling. Now It’s Living With the Consequences by Gavin Finch, Harry Wilson and Ann Choi (Bloomberg)

Long before online sports gambling platforms proliferated in the US, Britain unleashed the industry on its citizens at scale. The results have been brutal including hundreds of suicides. [Link; soft paywall]

Sports Excess

When V.I.P. Isn’t Exclusive Enough: Welcome to V.V.I.P. by Sarah Lyall and Christina Goldbaum (NYT)

Rules don’t apply to the highest-paying guests at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, but there is always an additional level of extreme luxury and exclusivity to achieve. [Link; soft paywall]

This Florida Home’s Memorabilia Collection Gives the Baseball Hall of Fame a Run for Its Money by John Sandman (WSJ)

A former health care executive has built a monumental shrine to baseball in a sprawling six bedroom, twelve bathroom house with more square footage than 15 starter homes. [Link; paywall]

Subterranean Situations

What Are Manhattan’s Street Chimneys? by Taku Ward (The Nib)

A fascinating infographic explaining why Manhattan is filled with odd, orange-and-white temporary “street chimneys” belching steam throughout the year. [Link]

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Ghosts Cities Across America by Tedd Mann and Julie Bykowicz (WSJ)

Big promises that never turn into anything are the hallmark of Elon Musk’s Boring Company, a venture that is incapable of actually delivering on anything it commits to in wave of vaporware glitz and glam. [Link; paywall]

Health Care

Google Health strikes deal with iCAD to commercialize mammography AI by Heather Landi (Fierce Healthcare)

Google Health is using artificial intelligence models to better-diagnose breast cancer, and its latest step towards commercialization is a deal that will improve models’ accuracy. [Link]

How diabetes med Ozempic became a fad weight-loss drug by Yasmin Gagne (Fast Company)

Multiple forms of the same bioactive drug (semaglutide) are proving wildly popular…but may be leading to weight loss seekers taking doses from patience that have greater medical need. [Link]

Real Estate

Where tighter monetary policy hits homeowners hardest by Neil Irwin and Courtenay Brown (Axios)

Not all housing markets have the same degree of exposure to changes in short-term interest rates, though of course exposure to short-term rate changes can be a very sharp double-edged sword. [Link]

U.S. Government to Backstop Mortgages Above $1 Million in High-Cost Areas by Andrew Ackerman (WSJ)

A few very pricey markets will see homes worth $1mm qualify for status as a conforming loan that can be backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac starting next year. [Link; paywall]

Electric Vehicles

BEVs: Not Just in California Anymore by John Howard (Wards Auto)

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) adoption is surging across the country, with some of the fastest adoption coming in some unlikely places including Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston, and Tampa. [Link]

Tesla’s Lithium Lead at Risk as Rivals Make Supply Deals by David Stringer, Yvonne Yue Li, and Gabrielle Coppola (Bloomberg)

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that don’t have large BEV businesses already are setting up supply chains for their rapidly scaling battery lineups, in a process that could leave Tesla with less supply. [Link; soft paywall]

Artificial “Intelligence”

OpenAI invites everyone to test new AI-powered chatbot—with amusing results by Benj Edwards (Ars Technica)

Basic text prompts ar enough for ChatGPT to spew out an impressive range of responses that read remarkably close to human-written language. [Link]

This AI Chatbot Is a Shockingly Competent Macro Pundit by Joe Weisenthal (Bloomberg)

If you want bland, consensus commentary on macroeconomics and financial markets, the OpenAI model is surprisingly effective. [Link; paywall]


On TikTok, Chinese State Media Pushes Divisive Videos About U.S. Politicians by Emily Baker-White and Iain Marin (Forbes)

Chinese government accounts are editorializing US politics at epic scale, generating millions of follows and views; none were disclosed as productions of the Chinese government’s propaganda system. [Link; soft paywall]

Flight In Luxury

Alibaba founder Jack Ma living in Tokyo since China’s tech crackdown by Kana Inagaki and Leo Lewis (FT)

After the Chinese government cracked down on the companies controlled by China’s richest man, he has surfaced living a low profile existence near Tokyo that also includes jaunts to Israel and the US. [Link; paywall]

Credit Dries Up

Cash-Hungry Companies Get Creative Raising Capital by Corrie Driebusch (WSJ)

Low stock prices and pressure to preserve cash are forcing companies to place equity through private funding rounds that offer investors preferred stakes with lower risk than common stock in the same companies. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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