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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Panic buying strips store shelves as people stockpile amid coronavirus outbreak with one woman turning her basement into a ‘supermarket’ and a man buying a YEAR’S supply of food which includes 192 tins of SPAM by Emily Crane (Daily Mail)

Stockpiling ahead of a nearly-inevitable Covid-19 outbreak inside the US is not yet reaching any kind of fever pitch but some early buyers are looking for canned goods, cough medicines, masks, and thermometers. [Link; auto-playing video]

Amazon bars 1 million products for false coronavirus claims by Jeffrey Dastin (Yahoo!/Reuters)

As snake oil salesmen flock to the online marketplace, Amazon has stepped in and blocked listings for products which claim to be able to kill the Covid-19 virus. [Link]

How One Patient Turned Korea’s Virus Outbreak Into an Epidemic by Heesu Lee and Kyunghee Park (Bloomberg)

A member of a secretive, apocalyptic religious sect helped turbocharge the outbreak of coronavirus in Korea by passing the virus to members of her church and beyond. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Why Some COVID-19 Cases Are Worse than Others by Katarina Zimmer (The Scientist)

A very helpful and detailed analysis of factors that make the Covid-2019 outbreak so dangerous to the elderly but of so little concern to younger members of the population. [Link]

Lessons From Singapore

Singapore Emerges as Litmus Test for Coronavirus Containment by Philip Heijmans (Bloomberg)

The city-state’s world-class health care system has been able to cap spread of cases while also delivering a much lower death rate than what’s been observed in Wuhan. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Living With Coronavirus Anxiety In Singapore by Megan K. Stack (The NYer)

An investigation of how pandemics change the lives of people and the broader community, regardless of how many are infected by whatever the pathogen is. [Link]


Reddit’s Profane, Greedy Traders Are Shaking Up the Stock Market by Luke Kawa (Bloomberg)

Every bull market inevitably has its small corners of extreme excess, and the huge gains for the stock market at the end of 2019 and start of 2020 are no different: welcome to r/wallstreetbets! [Link; soft paywall]

Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer (Bloomberg)

A catalog of the current funding backdrop for Silicon Valley, which has seen a plunge to multi-year lows in deals, deal amounts, first financings and exits that portends poorly for the space. [Link; soft paywall]



I stumbled across a huge Airbnb scam that’s taking over London by James Temperton (Wired)

While the company claims it’s been able to step up enforcement against malefactors that use its service, recent evidence from the capitol of the UK shows fraud is absolutely rampant on the platform. [Link]

How North Korean Hackers Rob Banks Around the World by Ben Buchanan (Wired)

There’s a long history of North Korean efforts to both fund its economy and attack the American economy via counterfeiting of currency, but the country has now moved into hacking banks instead of simple physical bill printing. [Link]

Millennial Women Made LuLaRoe Billions. Then They Paid The Price. by Stephanie McNeal (BuzzFeed)

The latest multi-level marketing scheme to wreck havoc on victims of its over-promised, under-delivered pitch of financial freedom was targeted at women approaching middle age who wanted to cover student loans and keep heads above water in a challenging post-crisis economy. [Link]

Sports Yarns

That Time Obama Pardoned a Guy Who Stole Charlie Sheen’s Honus Wagner Card by Jon Wertheim (Sports Illustrated)

Kick back, relax, and enjoy this zany tail about one of the most expensive baseball cards in history and one of the stranger pardons that ended up ending the affair. [Link]

Olympian’s cameo caps DeKalb student’s Black History Month report by Marlon A. Walker (AJC)

An assignment to do a project on Afro-Latinos who had made a big impact on society got taken above and beyond: with a visit to Barack Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology from Olympian and civil rights icon John Carlos. [Link]

Durable Goods

The Case for the $100,000 Mattress by Alicia Brunker (Architectural Digest)

Online mattress sellers are passé, with the $149,000 Savoir mattress (which takes 320 hours of craftsmanship in Sweden to create) the undisputed leader of sleeping luxury. [Link]

Where’s My Cup? Offices Find It’s Not Easy Going Green by Te-Ping Chen (WSJ)

Going green isn’t always easy, though one does wonder how inconvenient keeping track of a water bottle could possibly be. [Link; paywall]

Qui Custodiet?

Facial-Recognition Company That Works With Law Enforcement Says Entire Client List Was Stolen by Betsy Swan (The Daily Beast)

It’s pretty hard to believe a company that can’t keep its client list locked down deserves to have billions of pictures designed to create a near-panopticon surveillance infrastructure. [Link]

Climate Change

Newly waterproofed Arctic seed vault hits 1m samples by Damian Carrington (The Guardian)

A seed vault buried in Svaldbard has been upgraded to prevent flooding due to warmer temperatures, but now holds over 1mm samples as part of an effort to prevent a catastrophic loss of global biodiversity. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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