Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads, our Saturday morning summary of interesting things we’re reading this week. The links are mostly market related, but there will be some other interesting subjects covered as well. The links are in no particular order. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

The party’s over: Madoff, Billions, and a sober new wave of financial dramas by Chris DeVille (The Verge)

It’s been almost a decade since the financial crisis but scripted content still hasn’t been able to get its arms around the subjects that need dissecting. [Link]

USB-C cables are playing Russian Roulette with your laptop by Dieter Bohn (The Verge)

The new USB standard is going to be awesome when it becomes standard, but on machines that weren’t built for it, you could be in deep trouble. [Link]

How Saudi Arabia successfully defended its U.S. oil market share: Kemp by John Kemp (Reuters)

An interesting look at the various commercial and strategic networks that keep Saudi oil flowing to US consumers regardless of price. [Link]

Even God Would Get Fired as an Active Investor Wesley R. Gray, Ph.D. (Alpha Architect)

Even if you had perfect foresight, the volatility on the best performing stock portfolios of all time would lead you to crushing and unbearable drawdowns that are much worse than the broad market. [Link]

Fearing lean times, U.S. companies tighten purse strings by Caroline Veletkevitch and Marcus E. Howard (Reuters)

A review of the concerns that corporate capex is poised to fall broadly, something that’s already very much underway in the oil patch. [Link]

Hysteria over China has become ridiculous by Ambrose Evans-Prichard (The Telegraph)

Notoriously hyperbolic commentator Evans-Prichard is usually not the one calling for restraint but he certainly is this time, urging the market to chill out over China [Link]

The Effect of Smoking on Obesity: Evidence from a Randomized Trial by Charles Courtemanche, Rusty Tchernis, Benjamin Ukert (NBER)

This summary of a lengthier paper basically makes the case that you can either die of food or die of tobacco consumption, but not neither; we kid, of course, but the whole thing is fun read. [Link]

A Foreign Exchange Intervention in an Era of Restraint by Christopher J. Neely (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

Did you know that there have been three major coordinated interventions in G10 currency over the last two decades, or that the US regularly used to intervene in its FX rates, or that we actually have FX reserves? All are true, and this summary of US FX intervention is a fantastic history lesson for these and other dynamics. [Link]

What might the next US recession look like? by Matt Klein (FT Alphaville)

A tour de force in data collection and analysis, we fully endorse this thought experiment and the attempt to think about where economic imbalances might unwind. [Link, registration required]

Is it time to halt the rise of the ETF machine? by Chris Newlands (FT)

Just the latest in a never-ending series of back-and-forth debates over whether low cost ETFs are a major financial system risk. [Link, paywall]

Are You There, Teenagers? A Newsletter Aims for Your Inbox by Katie Rogers (NYT)

An anatomy of the pursuit for a new demographic, via an untraditional and less intrusive means in today’s attention-scrabbling media environment. [Link, paywall]

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