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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Uber discloses 3,000 reports of sexual assault on U.S. rides last year in its long-awaited safety study by Faiz Siddiqui (WaPo)

2018 alone saw 3,000 sexual assaults during Uber rides in just the US, reflecting a staggering risk for riders. A recent safety report also tallied 97 fatal crashes involving riders, 19 fatal physical assaults of riders, and more chaos during trips. [Link; soft paywall]

“Peloton Husband” Speaks Out by Alec Beall (Psychology Today)

Social media users unloaded on the popular stationary bike brand this week, criticizing the framing of an ad that depicted a video log of a woman using a bike her husband got her as a gift. The actor published a response to the vitriol this week. [Link]

TeamHealth sent thousands of surprise medical bills in 2017 by Caitlin Owens (Axios)

Investigations into the practice of surprise billing revealed physician staffing firm TeamHealth used surprise bills to increase the rate at which it billed insurers. [Link]


How McKinsey Helped the Trump Administration Detain and Deport Immigrants by Ian MacDougall (ProPublica)

Reporting by ProPublica and the New York Times reveals that consulting giant McKinsey played a critical role in developing practices which have attracted the greatest condemnation over the past couple of years: cutting food and medical care allocations, as well as detainee supervision. [Link]

Trump gave states the power to ban refugees. Conservative Utah wants more of them. by Griff Witte (WaPo)

While the Trump Administration is doing everything it can to reduce the number of refugees that the United States accepts every year, deeply Republican Utah is happy taking in more new arrivals. [Link; soft paywall]


Pinterest And The Knot Will Stop Promoting Wedding Content That Romanticizes Former Slave Plantations by Clarissa-Jan Lim (BuzzFeed News)

Two large online wedding platforms will no longer promote venues and content that romanticize weddings at plantations. [Link]

Tech Trends

Unintended Perk of the Online Mattress Boom: Never-Ending Free Trials by Stephanie Yang (WSJ)

With dozens of new mattress companies offering free trials that last more than three months, savvy consumers are taking advantage. [Link; paywall]

Inside Larry Page’s Turbulent Kitty Hawk: Returned Deposits, Battery Fires And A Boeing Shakeup by Jeremy Bogaisky (Forbes)

Google co-founder Larry Page’s flying-car company promised that by the end of 2017, customers could purchase one of the light personal aircraft. Unfortunately, deployment hasn’t been so easy. [Link]

Trade Tales

Illegal gold flowing through Miami is a ‘direct threat’ to U.S. national security, Rubio says by Alex Daugherty and Nicholas Nehamas (Miami Herald)

Illegal gold miners in Latin America tend to route their product through Miami, and while the negative effects of the mining aren’t directly felt by Floridians that doesn’t mean they aren’t serious. [Link]

Visualized: Ranking the Goods Most Traded Between the U.S. and China by Asley Viens (Visual Capitalist)

A helpful point of reference: the categories of trade goods that are most-traded between the United States and China. US imports are dominated by cell phones, computers, and routers, while exports to China amount to soybeans, airplanes, and some cars. [Link]

Workplace Wonder & Woe

Starbucks Discloses Gender and Racial Pay Gap: There Isn’t One by Jeff Green (Bloomberg)

In a remarkable break from the norm, the nation’s largest coffee chain delivered a diversity report that showed no gap in pay between men and women and no racial pay gap either. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Emotional Baggage by Zoe Schiffer (The Verge)

A remarkable catalogue of management failure and the excessive work culture of popular luggage brand Away, where workers were subjected to dramatic demands by a management desperate to grow. [Link]

Exclusive: CalPERS Fires Most of Its Equity Managers (Chief Investment Officer)

California’s public pension has fired most of the funds it uses to manage its external equity investment portfolio, taking the allocation to that space from $33.6bn to $5.5bn and reducing 17 managers to just 3. [Link]

Media Matters

Celebrities Seek Her Advice. M.B.A.s, Executives Line Up for Her Harvard Class. by Kathryn Dill (WSJ)

Harvard Business School offers a specific class on the business of stardom; this op-ed by the professor discusses her approach to the world of athletes and performers. [Link; paywall]

The Irishman Gets De-Aging Right—No Tracking Dots Necessary by Angela Watercutter (Wired)

A look at the intense technology required to make old actors young again, deployed to great effect in The Irishman. [Link]

The Kingdom, the Heavyweights and the $60 Million Prize Fight in the Desert by Joshua Robinson (WSJ)

This weekend featured a massive prize fight hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, featuring a temporary 15,000 person stadium, a $60mm purse, and the kind of glitz only money can buy. [Link; paywall]


The myth of crowding out by Jamie Powell (FTAV)

A summary of a recent paper that contradicts the widely-held belief that government budget deficits “crowd out” private investment by soaking up capital that would otherwise go to private projects. [Link; registration required]


Ford is making car parts—with waste from McDonald’s coffee beans by Amelia Lucas (CNBC)

The waste from coffee bean roasting at McDonald’s is being put to good use, getting included in auto parts used by Ford that reduce waste both during driving (the parts are lighter) and production (the parts use less energy to make). [Link]

How the 2010s Changed Physics Forever by Ryan F. Mandelbaum (Gizmodo)

A review of the biggest achievements of the decade in physics, from CERN’s Higgs bosons to the minute fluctuations caused by massive gravitational waves. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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