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.

Headline Oddities (Europe Edition)

German far-right AfD politician resigns after converting to Islam by Nik Martin (DW)

Germany’s extremist official opposition party (assuming Grand Coalition negotiations go as planned) is virulently anti-Islam, but one of its members clearly saw something he liked. [Link]

Nutella ‘riots’ spread across French supermarkets (BBC)

Apparently American Black Friday shoppers aren’t the only ones that are willing to go to extremes in order to get a good deal on a precious commodity. [Link]

Childhood Tragedy

Measles cases rise six-fold in Italy as populists pledge to scrap compulsory vaccines (The Local)

After populist the Five Star Movement (likely to win a plurality in upcoming March elections but not likely to form a government) and center-right Northern League (likely to help form a government) political parties took anti-vaccine stances in response to discredited research claiming (incorrectly) links between vaccines and autism, vaccination rates in Italy fell and long-dead diseases have started to make a comeback. [Link]

Parental Imprisonment and Premature Mortality in Adulthood by Steve G. A. van de Weijer, Holly S. Smallbone, and Valery Bouwman (Journal of Development and Life-Course Criminology)

Research from the Netherlands showing a link between the imprisonment of parents and mortality rates of their children. [Link]


China’s Rise Is Over by Daniel C. Lynch (Stanford University Press)

While there has been a long-held belief in Western circles that China is ascendant, Lynch argues that the more conservative outlook of Chinese policymakers is closer to reality. [Link]


Let Me Tell You Some More About Bitcoin—Hello? Hello? by Kirsten Grind (WSJ)

A catalogue of the human tool bitcoin enthusiasm is taking on the relationships of some of its most ardent enthusiasts. [Link; paywall]

The Programmer at the Center of a $100 Billion Crypto Storm by Paul Vigna and Jim Oberman (WSJ)

One of the most-trafficked websites in the world uses algorithms and price feeds from global exchanges to give real-time market caps for the crypto space. It’s run out of an apartment in Brooklyn. [Link; paywall]


The Atlas Of Redistricting by Aaron Bycoffe, Ella Koeze, David Wasserman and Julia Wolfe (538)

A really interesting project that allows you to see maps of the country or a given state under current laws and with a variety of hypothetical redistricting priorities. [Link]

Think your country is crowded? These maps reveal the truth about population density across Europe by Alasdair Roe (The Conversation)

Where do people in Europe actually live? The answer isn’t as simple as a population density calculation, with huge variation of densities within countries or regions. [Link]


The Troubling Origins of the Skeletons In A New York Museum by Daniel A. Gross (NYer)

Museums around the world house human remains, and in some cases their origins or provenance is either disturbing or downright inhumane. [Link]

Happy Birthday!

World’s largest ETF roars past $300bn in assets by John Authers, Joe Rennison, and Robin Wigglesworth (FT)

This year the S&P 500 ETF SPY hit its 25th birthday, buoyed by billions of inflows for index-linked passive products more generally. [Link; paywall]

Health Care

2016 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report (Health Care Cost Institute)

Despite falling utilization of health care services (including a drop of 12.9% for inpatient services from 2012 to 2016), surging prices have driven strong spending gains (in the case of inpatient services, prices are up 24.3% giving an 8.3% total spending growth over those years). A succinct summary of how broken the health care system is for most people. [Link]

Apple, in Sign of Health Ambitions, Adds Medical Records Feature for iPhone by Natasha Singer (NYT)

More evidence that Apple has its eyes on the health care market: the company has introduced a feature that would allow users to import health records to their phones. [Link]


“Get Out of Jail Free” Cards by Alex Tabarrok (Marginal Revolution)

A rundown of the recent NYC police officer’s union decision to reduce the number of “get out of jail free” cards given to officers for distribution to family, including some scathing rebukes of the corrupt practice. [Link]


The Tax Break That Doctors and Plumbers Both Will Miss by Ruth Simon (WSJ)

Trying to figure out what types of business qualify for the new pass-through provisions of the recent tax changes passed at the end of 2017 is an incredibly difficult process, making our complicated tax code that much more byzantine. [Link; paywall]

PR Nightmares

Walnut Hills grad’s post mocking Fox News viewers causes controversy for SCOTTeVEST by Scott Wartman (Cincinnati Enquirer)

In a Facebook post about his business, a vest company CEO made comments about customers he reaches via Fox News that don’t read very well, putting it mildly. [Link]

Have a great Sunday!

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