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.

HQ2

Here’s How the 20 Contenders for Amazon HQ2 Stack Up by Patrick Clark (Bloomberg)

An amusing rundown of the 20 metros shortlisted for Amazon’s second headquarters, which promises to bring more than 50,000 jobs. [Link; auto-playing video]

To Woo Amazon, Cities Tackle Everything From Traffic to Housing (WSJ)

A slightly different perspective with a similar angle: what various cities and states are trying to do to make sure that they get the nod from the huge e-commerce player. We are curious, though, why it takes Amazon to catalyze discussions around potential solutions to these various challenges. [Link; paywall]

Crypto

Price manipulation in the Bitcoin ecosystem by Neil Gandal, JT Hamrick, Tyler Moore, and Tali Oberman

An investigation of trading on the now-defunct Mt Gox exchange which led to the currency’s first rise above $1000. [Link; registration required]

The Fat Controller of the Lightning Network by Frances Coppola (Coppola Comment)

Coppola argues that while Lightning may work well as a way to facilitate bitcoin payments, it cannot both fulfill its intended role and remain decentralized. [Link]

Society

American Views: Trust, Media and Democracy (Gallup/Knight Foundation)

Gallup conducted a wide-ranging national poll assessing Americans’ views of the media, with wide-ranging implications for civic engagement and voting. [Link; 71 page PDF]

Global Risks 2018: Fractures, Fears and Failures (WEF)

A series of possible headwinds for the world economy and political order that may or may not be getting enough attention at the start of the new year. [Link]

The Young

Eating the Young by Dean Dad (Confessions of a Community College Dean)

Quick observations about the shifting priorities of society away from younger people and towards other aims, especially those of older Americans. [Link]

How a 22-Year-Old Discovered the Worst Chip Flaws in History by Jeremy Kahn, Alex Webb, and Mara Bernath (Bloomberg)

A profile of the twenty-something German who works at Google and discovered a massive security flaw related to Intel chips used across the tech world. [Link]

Economic Research

Did Import Competition Boost Household Debt Demand? by Jean-Noel Barrot, Erik Loualiche, Matthew Plosser, and Julien Sauvagnat (NY Fed Liberty Street Economics)

Using a novel approach to measuring import competition and regional differences in import penetration appear to have driven higher and less viable borrowing by consumer units exposed to the new competition. [Link]

That time when American banks basically existed to fund the government by Matthew C. Klein (FTAV)

In the 1940-1960 period, as much as 70% of assets at depository institutions were either US Treasury securities or Fed Funds reserves. In other words, the banking system used to exist purely to fund the federal government! [Link; registration required]

Dystopia

User succumbs to a seizure in virtual reality while other players can only watch by Megan Farokhmanesh (The Verge)

VRChat players were shocked as they watched another user collapse in an epileptic seizure; they were unable to assist someone that could have been anywhere in the world. [Link]

Real Estate

Japan’s lost lands: why a fifth of the nation’s territory is worthless by Robin Harding (FT)

As much as 20% of the country has either no owner of record or an impossible maze of inheritances, absentee owners, or some impediment to establishing who actually has control of the land. [Link; paywall]

Advertising

TV, retail, advertising and cascading collapses by Benedict Evans (Ben Evans)

As business models shift away from retail, advertising spending patterns will necessarily shift, adding to the impact of declining linear TV time. [Link]

Politics

The Daily 202: Unexpected defeat in rural Wisconsin special election sets off alarm bells for Republicans by James Hohmann (WaPo)

While there’s tentative evidence that tax reform have created a bottom in Presidential approval ratings and generic ballot headwinds for Republicans for now, Democrats are racking up a surprising series of wins in minor races around the country and portend disappointment for the majority party in 2018 midterm voting. [Link]

Hoops

The Secret History of the Golden State Warriors’ Unstoppable Play by Ben Cohen (WSJ)

An oral history of a play that moved from Colorado State & Montana to BYU to Iowa State and eventually to the NBA and the Golden State Warriors. The gifs littered through the piece make understanding the play very easy. [Link; paywall]

Food

How to Pesto (Eataly)

Most commonly found in green form with basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan, pesto can also be made in a mind blowing diversity of ingredients, flavors, and colors. [Link]

Have a great Sunday!

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