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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Thinking Ahead

How airships could return to our crowded skies by Mark Piesing (BBC)

Airships are something of a perpetual “10 years away” technology, but new developments and experimentation are creating a real possibility of long-haul airship cargo. [Link; paywall]

Mini Nuclear Reactors Off Promise of Cheaper, Clean Power by Daniel Michaels (WSJ)

Nuclear power creates no carbon emissions, but radiation is something of a bummer. But new approaches and technologies offer the chance to spin up small scale nuclear plants that could support local power girds or private campuses. [Link; paywall]

Electric Vehicles

The Biden Team Wants to Transform the Economy. Really. by Noam Scheiber (NYT)

The new administration is focused on manufacturing and has settled on electric vehicles as a way to invest in American factories and the jobs they offer. [Link; soft paywall]

New battery tech to have major impact on EVs by Dom Tripolone (News.com.au)

An Israeli company claims that it’s developed a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged in 5 minutes, offering the possibility for extremely fast recharging that would eliminate one of the only downsides for electric vehicles. [Link; auto-playing video]

Policy Analysis

Inflation: The Good, The Bad, and The Transitory by Skanda Amaranth and Alex Williams (Employ America)

An interesting review of three possible scenarios for the economy this year, specifically focused on the trajectory of inflation and the steps policymakers take to respond to it. [Link]

Unemployment insurance, job search, and spending during the pandemic by Fiona Greig, Daniel M. Sullivan, Max Liebeskind, Peter Ganong, Pascal Noel, and Joseph Vavra (JP Morgan Chase Institute)

This research brief studies the impact of the supplemental $600/week unemployment insurance benefits enacted in the CARES Act as a way to provide stimulus and keep households afloat. The authors conclude that the payments played “little role” in discouraging people from finding work. [Link]


Exclusive: How GameStop missed out on capitalizing on the Reddit rally by Jessica DiNapoli, Svea Herbst-Bayliss, and Joshua Franklin (Reuters)

GameStop was unable to issue stock to capitalize on the ramp in its share prices, mostly because it thought it would attract regulatory scrutiny for doing so before its earnings update. [Link]

28% of Americans bought GameStop or other viral stocks in January: Yahoo Finance-Harris Poll by Ethan Wolff-Mann (Yahoo!)

A new survey from Harris commission by Yahoo! Finance showed that over one-quarter of the country reported buying “meme” stocks during the surge in retail interest that drove a series of catastrophic short squeezes during the month. [Link; auto-playing video]


Coleman Leads $23 Billion Payday for 15 Hedge Fund Earners by Tom Maloney and Hema Parmar (Bloomberg)

The fifteen largest hedge fund paydays in 2020 were worth a total of $23.2bn, mostly due to gains on investment in the funds that large investors manage. [Link; auto-playing video, soft paywall]

Health Care

N.Y.’s Vaccine Websites Weren’t Working. He Built a New One for $50. by Sharon Otterman (NYT)

With different levels of government rolling out the vaccine in different ways, technological fixes kludged together can sometimes make a big impact on access. [Link; soft paywall]

How Much Does a C-Section Cost? At One Hospital, Anywhere From $6,241 to $60,584. by Anna Wilde Mathews, Tom McGinty and Melanie Evans (WSJ)

Hospital procedures are a complete black box, with costs varying by tens of thousands of dollars. A Trump Administration rule is forcing hospitals to disclose pricing and the results are a complete mess. [Link; paywall]

Real Estate

Best week since 2019 for Manhattan luxury market by Sylvia Varnham O’Regan (The Real Deal)

Properties asking $4mm or more saw the largest volume week since November 2019 last week, with a total of 30 contracts signed (21 of which were condos). [Link]


Pizza Was the Restaurant Hero of 2020 by Julie Creswell (NYT)

With the pandemic keeping millions at home, pizza is a cheap, easy, and familiar option as either delivery or pickup. The two largest delivery chains saw sales rise by millions of pies. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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