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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How Putin blundered into Ukraine — then doubled down by Max Seddon, Christopher Miller, and Felicia Schwartz (FT)

A detailed look at the psychology, advisors, and historical misconceptions that led Russia to its disastrous invasion of Ukraine, a war that has now claimed over 200,000 casualties within Russia’s military alone. [Link; paywall]

Sensitive US military emails spill online by Zack Whittaker (Tech Crunch)

A Microsoft Azure cloud server hosting Department of Defense emails was open to the public internet for two weeks, spilling years of emails and personal information, though none of the exposed emails appear to be classified. [Link]

State Policy

Frontier Institute Statement In Support of SB 323 (Frontier Institute)

A libertarian think tank in Montana has penned this endorsement of SB 323, a bill reforming zoning regulations and allowing higher density home construction. In what can only be described as trolling, the institute argues “we don’t want Montana to become like California” by preventing cities from building housing up instead of sprawling out. [Link]

Kids Buying Weed From Bodegas Wasn’t in the ‘Legal Weed’ Plan by Ginia Bellafante (NYT)

Legalization of marijuana in New York City is proceeding about how one would expect: messy, entrepreneurial, controversial, and confusing. The result is widespread underground marijuana sales at bodegas as legal dispensaries struggle to navigate state licensure. [Link; soft paywall]

Energy Markets

Global distillate fuel oil inventories by John Kemp (Reuters)

A helpful rundown on extremely tight global inventories of distillate (diesel) fuels which are extremely low thanks to the disruptions of the war in Ukraine. [Link; 15 page PDF]

Big Tech

Google asks some employees to share desks amid office downsizing by Jennifer Elias (CNBC)

Looking to save money on real estate amidst a boom in work from home, Google is asking employees at its cloud unit to share desk space at its 5 largest locations. [Link]

China tells big tech companies not to offer ChatGPT services by Cissy Zhou (Nikkei Asia)

OpenAI’s chatbot is not finding fans at the Chinse Communist Party, as regulators have instructed companies like Tencent and Ant Group to avoid offering access on their platforms. [Link; soft paywall]

The quietest place on earth will drive you insane (The Jerusalem Post/Walla! Health)

In a quiet enough room, you can hear your heart beat, the flow of blood through your body, and the creak of your bones. Why Microsoft would want to build a torture chamber like this is a bit beyond us but they did it. [Link]

Industrial Policy

Tesla Makes US the Focus of Battery-Making Efforts in Blow to Germany by Wilfried Eckl-Dorna (Bloomberg)

Tesla has decided to manufacture battery cells in the US instead of Germany thanks to the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year. Tax credits in the act cover as much as 30% of the operating costs for cell manufacturers. [Link; soft paywall]

Business Models

Pay-Per-Chew: More restaurants trying subscription programs (Fox 5 NY)

In an effort to generate more predictable revenue streams and draw repeat customers, mom and pop shops are following the lead of Silicon Valley and offering subscriptions for loyal customers. [Link]

Odd News

The FBI searched the Pennsylvania wilderness for a cache of gold. A treasure hunter wants to know what it found. (CBS)

While the FBI claims there was nothing found when it searched for a Civil War-era gold cache, but competing treasure hunters think they might be hiding something. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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