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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Health Research

Could Fruit Flies Help Match Patients With Cancer Treatments? by Michele Cohen Marill (Wired)

Fruit flies are remarkably similar to humans in many ways, making them a useful model for mass testing of treatments for cancers that are tailored to the individual patient. [Link; soft paywall]

What’s Safe After COVID-19 Vaccination? Don’t Shed Masks Yet by Lauran Neergaard (NBC4)

While widespread vaccination will eventually return society to pre-COVID “normalcy”, a first dose of a vaccine is not a free pass to stop all the behaviors which help spread the virus. [Link]


Future Vaccines Depend on Test Subjects in Short Supply: Monkeys by Sui-Lee Wee (NYT)

Macaques are a critical species for early-phase research on drugs of many kinds, and the recent explosion of COVID R&D has made them increasingly difficult to get a hold of. [Link; soft paywall]

Where Have All the Houses Gone? by Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui (NYT)

Skyrocketing demand for homes has been one fact in extremely low inventories, but a lack of supply driven in part by fears over COVID is also a major factor in the lack of available houses. [Link; soft paywall]

Lumber Prices Are Soaring. Why Are Tree Growers Miserable? by Ryan Dezember and Vipal Monga (WSJ)

While demand for US lumber is absolutely soaring and forcing sawmills to run flat out, there’s such a huge backlog of timber on the market that timber growers are struggling despite the massive rise in prices. [Link; paywall]

How Did We End Up With This Chip Shortage? by Anjani Trivedi (Bloomberg)

The auto industry is being forced to curtail production because it can’t get its hands on enough semiconductors, part of a global shortfall in semis that comes down to a basic planning failure. [Link; soft paywall]

Equity Market Madness

Dot-Com Survivors Have Wisdom for the GameStop Crowd by Joe Nocera (Bloomberg)

Looking back on the traders that were caught up in the last stock market bubble to try and find some lessons for the current crop of desperate stock market bidders. [Link; soft paywall]

A Stock-Trading Dupe Is Born Every Minute by Andy Kessler (WSJ)

The history of pump-and-dumps and the way that the GameStop saga fits into the classic narrative…and doesn’t. [Link; paywall]

Are We In a Stock Market Bubble? by Ray Dalio (LinkedIn)

The head of the world’s largest hedge fund thinks that the signals are mixed as to whether the current equity market is in a bubble, though certain areas of the market are certainly looking carried away. [Link]

Speculation In Everything

‘Nyan Cat’ flying Pop-Tart meme sells for nearly $600,000 as one-of-a-kind crypto art by Grace Kay (Business Insider)

An Ethereum-based piece of digital animation has sold for six figures, in one of the more head-scratching trades we’ve seen recently. [Link]

What Are NFTs and How Do They Work? by Ollie Leech (Coindesk)

Non-fungible tokens aka NFTs are a new approach to blockchain assets that are each unique; unlike other forms of crypto, which are fungible when combined or divided into larger or smaller values, NFTs are each unique. [Link]

How Did A LeBron James Video Highlight Sell For $71,455? A Look At A Burgeoning Product Called NBA Top Shot. by Tommy Beer (Forbes)

One application of NFTs is the NBA’s new digital trading card system. Blockchain-based Top Shot is a way to collect unique and tradable highlights. [Link]

Sneakerheads Have Turned Jordans and Yeezys Into a Bona Fide Asset Class by Joshua Hunt (Bloomberg)

Tight supply and booming demand for street shoes have driven a spectacular run for middlemen and speculators alike when it comes to sneakers. [Link; soft paywall]

What is Grenadine Made From? by Darcy O’Neil (Art of Drink)

The fabled cocktail syrup grenadine is popularly assumed to be derived from pomegranate, owing to the literal translation of its name, but in point of fact its origins are far more obscure. [Link]

Economic Myths

Potential Output: Little Explanation for a Big Number by Alex Williams (Employ America)

Recent debates about fiscal stimulus have revolved around the sizes proposed relative to the output gap, but that concept is dependent on an estimate of “potential” GDP which is little more than a gussied-up shot in the dark about how much the economy can produce. [Link]


Why Athletes’ Birthdays Affect Who Goes Pro — And Who Becomes A Star by Tim Wigmore (538)

Children born in a specific time of the year are much more likely to be active in elite amateur sports, owing to the fact that they are initially selected for size and development and then up-streamed to further training. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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