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.

Economic Musings

Why Debt is both Interesting and Important by Toby Nangle (Principles And Interest)

Musing on the macroeconomics of household debt; what it is, what it isn’t, why it’s important, and why it’s sometimes talked about in the wrong way. [Link]

Data Analysis Ahead of Theory by Sri Thiruvadanthai (Yeah, But….Thoughts on Economics)

A list of stylized facts about macroeconomics designed to inform the current conversation around reforming the discipline. [Link]


A surge of sites and apps are exhausting your CPU to mine cryptocurrency by Dan Goodin (ArsTechnica)

Using JavaScript plugins, a number of websites have begun harvesting the computing power of visitors’ processors to mine cryptocurrency, often without notifying users of that activity. [Link]

Brooklyn Bitcoin Mine Causes Static for T-Mobile Users by Todd Shields (Bloomberg)

A custom mining rig in a New York City borough was using so much power and creating so much background radio frequency that it interfered with cell phone frequencies, causing FCC intervention. [Link; auto-playing video]

Coinbase is erratically overcharging some users and emptying their bank accounts by Adrianne Jeffries (The Verge)

In a technical error, Coinbase began emptying bank accounts of some customers to the pointof incurring overdraft fees. [Link]

Next-Generation Crypto-Ledgers Take the Block Out of Blockchain by Olga Kharif (Bloomberg)

An overview of efforts to deploy blockchain technology beyond bitcoin, including payments aggregation and cheaper, faster alternatives to the bitcoin network. [Link; auto-playing video]


What Really Happened on Easter Island? by Catrine Jarman (Sapiens)

One of the most popular cautionary tales about the impact of human beings on the environment bay have been a radical misinterpretation of the history of Easter Island. [Link]

Big History by Blair Reeves (Blair Reeves)

An argument that context is both badly missing and deeply necessary for understanding history properly, especially at very large timescales. [Link]

Strange News

This Short Seller Pressed ‘Tweet.’ Then the FBI Showed Up by Greg Farrell and Anders Melin (Bloomberg)

Former Bespokecast guest and notable short seller Marc Cohodes made some ill-advised tweets that somehow ended up garnering him a visit from the FBI. [Link]

N.Y. landlord obliterated dozens of graffiti murals. Now he owes the artists $6.75 million. by Samantha Schmidt (WaPo)

Legally painted graffiti on the walls of dilapidated warehouses were covered with white paint in preparation for sales to developers. The result is a landmark judgement in favor of artists whose work was destroyed by the owner of the property. [Link; soft paywall]

Fed Findings

Here’s How New Fed Chief Powell Is Changing Things Up by Christopher Condon (Bloomberg)

In an effort to flatten the hierarchical institutional design of the FOMC, Chair Powell is working to get in closer contact with staff economists and researchers. [Link; auto-playing video]

Finance Miscellanea

Churches Are Still Filing Bankruptcy by Pamela Foohey (Credit Slips)

While consumer bankruptcies are starting to even out, churches are still in relatively dire financial straits as evidenced by the still-high bankruptcy filings they make. [Link]

The Big Risk in China Isn’t Stocks by Nisha Gopalan (Bloomberg)

With lots of eyes on the size of Chinese credit markets, bank lending, and equity markets, the real risks in the country may be more specific to the real estate market. [Link]

A culprit for financial site glitches: you and your apps by Ross Kerber (Yahoo!/Reuters)

During the height of the equity market pullback last week, retail investors flooded brokerage website to the point they crashed, a possible sign of what made the difference in lower prices: investor behavior. [Link]


Poll: GOP gains on generic ballot, Trump approval ticks upward by Steven Shepard (Politico)

After falling behind Democrats by a historic margin, Republicans have come storming back in the wake of tax reform passage. [Link]


Hockey language divergence between North Korea and South Korea by Victor Mair (Language Log)

In order to play together in the PeoyongChang Olympics, North and South Korean hockey players needed remedial language classes. [Link]

Moore’s Law

Science and research policy at the end of Moore’s law by Hassan N. Khan, David A. Hounshell and Erica R. H. Fuchs (Nature)

The authors argue that while Moore’s Law is likely to break down as the industry fractures into distinct research paths, progress is likely to continue along discrete paths; possible solutions include public funding of more general research and leadership from outside private industry. [Link]

Tech Problems

Too Much Power to the People? A Food Safety Site Tests the Limits by Kevin Roose (NYT)

The internet has unleashed consumers’ voices, but there are drawbacks: false reports, anonymous submissions, and fearmongering are all significant issues. [Link; soft paywall]

America’s Real Digital Divide by Naomi Schaefer Riley (NYT)

Excessive time in front of screens has widely reported drawbacks, and it turns out that children from lower income families are even more exposed to the perils of a digital babysitter. [Link; soft paywall]


The ‘Black Panther’ Movie Deal That Didn’t Get Made by Ben Fritz (WSJ)

Sony’s misguided purchase of rights to Spiderman but intentional pass on the rest of the Marvel universe looks like one of the worst decisions in the history of the movies. [Link; paywall]

The Forecaddie: Nothing quite like Mark Wahlberg’s approach to golf (Golf Week)

Marky-Mark’s entourage for a round: a personal chef with eight daily meals in coolers, a playing partner (CAA agent Rob light), and three caddies. One caddy handles clubs and raking, one shot selection, and a third is there simply to run sprints with Wahlberg between shots. [Link]


Sources: College hoops corruption case poised to take down Hall of Fame coaches, top programs, lottery picks by Pete Thamel (Yahoo!)

Five months ago a federal probe led to 10 arrests of college basketball coaches and other hangers-on. Sources report that the next round (featuring 4000 calls wire tapped as well as thousands of documents and bank records) could splash across 50 programs. [Link; auto-playing video]

St. John’s Is On The Most Unlikely Hot Streak In College Basketball History by Neil Paine (538)

Starting 10-2, losing 11 straight, and then wins over number 4 Duke, number 1 Villanova, and a solid Marquette squad, has meant the biggest turnaround in college basketball history. [Link]


US craft beer slowdown sends hops market from boom to bust by Emiko Terazono (FT)

After hoppy craft beers saw a surge in popularity, hops prices exploded and production surged, but tastes have since started to shift again, leading to a bust. [Link; paywall]


Why I don’t use my real photo when messaging with customers on my website by Julia Enthoven (Kapwing)

A woman using her picture or the picture of another woman saw a dramatic difference in harassment and rude or profane comments from users seeking tech support on her company’s website. Using a male picture or that of the firm’s logo, the harassment stopped. [Link]

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Have a great Sunday!

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