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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Economics

Deficits are Raising Interest Rates. But Other Factors are Lowering Them. by Ernie Tedeschi (Medium)

A quantitative explanation for why interest rates haven’t seemed to pay much attention to drastic increases in budget deficits, with attribution to a range of variables. [Link]

Disruption

“Hollywood is now irrelevant,” says IAC Chairman Barry Diller by Eric Johnson (recode)

Diller argues that movie studios used to exercise an effective cartel power over the movie business, but the entry of deep-pocketed tech giants has broken that power. [Link]

4Q Results Disappoint; Uber Feels Competitive Pressure as Growth Slows by Asad Hussain (PitchBook)

Quarterly financial results published by Uber suggest the company is struggling to maintain growth and may be at risk of losing out in core ridesharing markets, both significant concerns ahead of a potential IPO this year. [Link; 3 page PDF]

Dogs

Meet the dogs of the 2020 presidential race by Heather Timmons (Quartz)

Regardless of how you feel about the candidates, there are a parade of potential Presidential pooches to appreciate in the growing field of Democrats vying for a White House nomination. [Link]

The story behind the guy who went to a Dallas dog park covered in peanut butter by Matt Howerton (WFAA)

In the latest example of a fantasy football excess, a man covered himself with peanut butter and said hello to some canines in a Dallas dog park. [Link; auto-playing video]

Archaeology

Scientists discover the origin of Stonehenge stones – quarries 180 miles away by Ben Guarino (WaPo)

The famed rocks at Stonehenge have been traced to quarries in Wales, which for a Neolithic civilization dated to 3000 BC is a simply staggering achievement. [Link; soft paywall]

CRISPR

China’s CRISPR twins might have had their brains inadvertently enhanced by Antonio Regalado (Technology Review)

A widely-condemned experiment involving gene editing of human babies may have served to raise the intelligence of the twins, as well as making them resistant to HIV. [Link]

Climate

Look Who’s Betting on Climate Change by Matthew C. Klein (Barron’s)

Markets directly tied to the changing climate have very closely tracked the predictions of climate models which predict rising average temperatures. [Link; paywall]

Flight reaches 801 mph as a furious jet stream packs record-breaking speeds by Matthew Cappucci (WaPo)

Savage jet stream activity over the eastern seaboard drove a commercial jetliner to hit a ground speed of more than 800 MPH this week. [Link; soft paywall]

Sports

How Bryson trains his brain by Mike McAllister (PGA Tour)

Professional golfer Bryson DeCahmbreau uses a brainwave monitoring device to train himself to hone his ability to remain calm under pressure. [Link]

How former ref Tim Donaghy conspired to fix NBA games by Scott Eden (ESPN)

The inside story of how a ref rigged games, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars of ill-gotten gains and shedding new light on the challenges of maintaining a fair marketplace as sports betting balloons. [Link]

Nike Negativity

A Software Update Is Breaking Nike’s Expensive, Auto-Lacing Sneakers by Dan McQuade (Deadspin)

Nike recently released a pair of sneakers that rely on connection to an app in order to function properly, leading to predictably terrible results when a firmware update bricked some purchasers’ sneakers. [Link]

Zion Williamson’s injury from rare shoe failure puts spotlight on Nike by A.J. Perez (AZ Central)

A catastrophic failure for Nike footwear in prime time this week resulted in a knee strain for Duke’s projected first round draft pick. [Link]

Tech Dystopia

On YouTube, a network of paedophiles is hiding in plain sight by K. G. Orphanides (Wired)

Videos featuring children in what most people would consider innocuous situations are racking up millions of views and lots of advertising dollars thanks to interest from pedophiles. [Link]

You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook. by Sam Schechner and Mark Secada (WSJ)

Apparently not content to stockpile every scrap of data on its own users that it can, Facebook is also hoovering up data from other apps, typically without consent of users. [Link; paywall]

Mark Zuckerberg Promised A Clear History Tool Almost A Year Ago. Where Is It? by Ryan Mac (BuzzFeed)

Nine months after Facebook announced they would give users a “Clear History” function (giving them more control over their data), the tool is nowhere to be found; that’s part of a revealing pattern of behavior that the company has towards privacy. [Link]

Growing Up

The Overprotected American Child by Andrea Petersen (WSJ)

Denying children the freedom to learn independence may lead to anxiety, and parents aren’t alone in trying to find new strategies to let little ones try and experience a little more on their own. [Link; paywall]

WTF

At least 4 American veterans among group arrested in Haiti with weapons and tactical gear by Paul Szoldra (Task & Purpose)

In one of the strangest stories we’ve seen in a long time, Haitian police arrested a quintet of military-grade weapons-toting Americans driving unlicensed Chevy Suburbans through Port-au-Prince. [Link]

Health Care

Florida GOP governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs from Canada by Peter Sullivan (The Hill)

Republicans in Florida are hoping to undercut the US pharmaceutical industry by importing drugs from Canada, a move the President reportedly supports. [Link; auto-playing video]

Drink

My Restaurant Was the Greatest Show of Excess You’d Ever Seen, and It Almost Killed Me by David McMillan (Bon Appétit)

A tale of withdrawal from the indulgence of the restauranteur lifestyle which was bringing nothing but misery to the owner of one of Montreal’s finest establishments. [Link]

Taxes

IRS data shows initial drop in average tax refund by Naomi Jagoda (The Hill)

It’s still very early but the early data suggests the average tax payer is getting a smaller return this year, one sign of how voters will assess the TCJA, passed at the end of 2017. [Link; auto-playing video]

Local Development

Scaring Off Amazon Will Backfire for the Left by Conor Sen (Bloomberg)

An argument that progressive energy tied to recent electoral success and policy innovation is only so much hot air. [Link]

Credit

The Bank for Japanese Farmers That Fuels the Global Lending Market by Telis Demos and Sam Goldfarb (WSJ)

A Japanese bank charged with investing the deposits of small farmers and fishing cooperatives has become a giant player in the CLO market, which securitizes loans made to US companies. [Link; paywall]

Radiation

Grand Canyon tourists exposed for years to radiation in museum building, safety manager says by Dennis Wagner (AZ Central)

Uranium ore stored in a few paint buckets at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon caused inadvertent irradiation of guests and workers. [Link]

 

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