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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Ancient History

A great wave: the Storegga tsunami and the end of Doggerland? by James Walker, Vincent Gaffney, Simon Fitch, Merle Muru, Andrew Fraser, Martin Bates, and Richard Bates (Cambridge University Press)

A review of the history of Doggerland, the delta region between the modern low countries and UK, which was subject to a catastrophic tsunami over 8,000 years ago. [Link]

‘Sistine Chapel of the ancients’ rock art discovered in remote Amazon forest by Dalya Alberge (The Guardian)

Deep in the Amazonian rain forest of Colombia, paintings on rock faces stretching across almost 8 miles reveal a fascinating insight into the pre-historic Americas. [Link]

Breakthroughs

How a Couple’s Quest to Cure Cancer Led to the West’s First Covid-19 Vaccine by Bojan Pancevski (WSJ)

A husband-and-wife team of German scientists whose parents migrated from Turkey were the core of a vaccine development team that turned around the eventual Pfizer product in a period of mere days. [Link; paywall]

Alphabet’s DeepMind achieves historic new milestone in AI-based protein structure prediction by Darrell Etherington (TechCrunch)

This week, Alphabet’s subsidiary DeepMind reported that it had developed a major leap in predicting protein folding, which could lead to much faster biological research and drug development. [Link]

Cultured meat has been approved for consumers for the first time by Niall Firth (MIT Technology Review)

A San Francisco-based start-up has been given preliminary approval to sell its lab-grown meat chicken nuggets in Singapore. While the initial product is very expensive and also relies on plant proteins, the move towards commercialization gives a peak into the potential for synthetic meat, a holy grail for vegans and climate activists alike. [Link; soft paywall]

Why Is Apple’s M1 Chip So Fast? By Erik Engheim (Debugger)

The chip Apple has developed in-house for its latest line of Mac computers represents a truly epic leap in terms of both technical approach and competitive landscape. [Link]

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Peak Oil Is Suddenly Upon Us by Tom Randall and Hayley Warren (Bloomberg)

COVID has brought forward an almost unthinkable reality: maximum oil demand. A look at what that might mean for the future of the global economy. [Link; soft paywall]

House passes historic bill to decriminalize cannabis by Alicia Victoria Lozano (NBC)

In a vote that mostly broke down on party lines (Democrats mostly in favor, Republicans mostly opposed) the House passed a historic bill that would remove pot from the Controlled Substances Act. [Link; auto-playing video]

How The Tumult of 2020 Will Shape the Future of Ride Sharing (Wired)

A podcast discussing the very strange ride for ridesharing giants which have been brought low by the pandemic…but offered some new opportunities as well. [Link; soft paywall]

Disaster

Huge Puerto Rico radio telescope, already damaged, collapses by Dánica Coto (PhysOrg)

The massive radio telescope dish of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has collapsed, with the receiver assembly collapsing after a cable snapped back in August. [Link]

Death by PowerPoint: the slide that killed seven people (McDreeamie-Musings)

One potential reason for the Columbia shuttle disaster which killed its crew in 2003 was a poorly-designed slide in PowerPoint that was used to create a risk assessment. [Link]

Bad Calls

One country tells Apple to put a wall charger in iPhone 12 box by Trevor Mogg (digitaltrends)

Apple has been told by a Brazilian state regulator to include a wall charging unit compatible with the USB-C cords it includes with its new iPhone 12 or face a fine. [Link]

David Einhorn Has Made a Lot of Bad Bets — And One Very Good One by Katherine Burton (Bloomberg)

Since 2015, Greenlight Capital has lost 34%, with a slew of bad investments weighing returns. This year, the fund is flat thanks to a 15% gain for a homebuilder that the fund owns half of. [Link; soft paywall]

Policy

In Blue States and Red, Pandemic Upends Public Services and Jobs by Patricia Cohen (NYT)

Plunging tax receipts are forcing state and local governments to cut back, extending the economic pain of the COVID recession. [Link; soft paywall]

Bros

Bro Culture, Fitness, Chivalry, and American Identity by Patrick Wyman (Substack)

A deep investigation into bro culture, from the gym floor to the coffee grinder. Wyman ties his narrative into the medieval past as well as the contemporary reality of American bros. [Link]

Hungarian MEP admits he was at lockdown ‘orgy’ by Maïa De La Baume (Politico)

Brussels policy broke up a lockdown party this week with explosive results: a Hungarian MEP closely allied to Hungarian Viktor Orbán was in attendance at a gay orgy. This wouldn’t be remarkable if it wasn’t for the Orbán government’s long track record of LGBTQ suppression. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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