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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From The Front Lines

Ukrainian Counteroffensive Near Mykolaiv Relieves Strategic Port City by Yaroslav Trofimov (WSJ)

Russian forces have been pushed back from Mykolaiv in the biggest Ukrainian counter-attack since the start of the war. How the people are digging out as the steady steam of war dead continue to flow back from the front. [Link; paywall]


Economic complexity emerges as a new restraint on wars of conquest by George Pearkes (Atlantic Council)

Sanctions levied against Russia in response to the war in Ukraine illustrate the new, existential restraint on wars of conquest: the threat of broken value chains which underpin the staggeringly complex web of production that supports modern standards of living. [Link]

Aircraft Insurers Brace for Deluge of Russia Claims, With Lloyds on Hot Seat by Katherine Chiglinsky, Siddharth Vikram Philip, and Max Reyes (Bloomberg)

Companies that own commercial aircraft and lease them to airlines are facing massive losses from the requisition of those planes by the Russian government. The question is, how much of that hit will be absorbed by insurance companies? [Link; soft paywall]


The $140 Billion Question: Can Russia Sell Its Huge Gold Pile? by Eddie Spence (Yahoo!/Bloomberg)

Gold holdings were meant to “sanctions-proof” the Russian central bank’s massive reserve hoard. In practice, it’s proving hard to deploy that hoard of value to protect the Russian economy from western sanctions, bringing in to question the utility of holding gold as reserves. [Link]

Energy traders call for ‘emergency’ central bank intervention by Claire Jones, Neil Hume, and Martin Arnold (FT)

European commodities trading firms have requested central bank liquidity facilities to help them manage unprecedented disruptions from Russian sanctions and the war in Ukraine. [Link; soft paywall]

Food Prices

How is the Egyptian government dealing with the global wheat crisis? by Nada Arafat (Mada Masr)

A detailed review of policy steps being taken by the world’s largest wheat importer (heavily dependent on Ukrainian and Russian supply specifically) to secure sufficient grain volumes amidst the loss of supply from the breadbasket of Europe. [Link]

We’re Not Facing a Global Food Crisis by Aaron Smith (UC Davis)

While the loss of wheat and to a lesser degree corn supplies from Russia and Ukraine will be significant, the overall shock is largely priced in at this point and unlikely to cause a significant global shortage. [Link]

High & Low Drama

Inside the Succession Drama at Scholastic, Where Harry Potter and Clifford Hang in the Balance by Joy Press (Vanity Fair)

A real-life version of Succession is pitting the girlfriend of the former CEO for children’s book company Scholastic against his sons. [Link; soft paywall]

California city may declare Chick-fil-A a “public nuisance” by Kate Gibson (CBS News)

Huge lines for the fried chicken purveyor in Santa Barbara are spilling into streets and blocking lanes for hours at a time, leading civic leaders to slap the business with penalties. [Link]


How the Pandemic Broke Silicon Valley’s Stranglehold on Tech Jobs by Christopher Mims (WSJ)

Remote work is becoming more prevalent, and it’s most concentrated in tech where powerful geographic network effects have historically concentrated talent in a narrow cluster of cities around the country. [Link]

Vimeo is telling creators to suddenly pay thousands of dollars — or leave the platform by Mia Sato (The Verge)

Price hikes have been rolled out on video sharing website Vimeo’s users, many of whom use the site because of its integration with popular subscription platform Patreon. [Link]


UPS missed Nantucket ferry reservation window: ‘It’s going to put us in a world of hurt’ by Joshua Rhett Miller (NYP)

An early priority window for booking Nantucket busy season ferry capacity was missed by UPS, leaving the shipping company scrambling to figure out how it will book capacity and businesses on the island wondering how they will ship and receive packages this summer. [Link; auto-playing video]

Everyone Was Surprised By The Senate Passing Permanent Daylight Saving Time. Especially The Senators. by Paul McLeod (BuzzFeed)

Apparently the Senate was too busy deliberating this week to notice that they had accidentally passed legislation that (if passed by the House and signed by the President) would eliminate the bi-annual changing of the clocks. [Link]


Cold Showers, Hot Saunas and the New Way to Tame Stress by Betsy Morris (WSJ)

Occasional bursts of stress may help the body adapt to more permanent stress, with exercise, temperature changes, and fasting all playing a role. [Link; paywall]

Veto Points

Why America can’t build quickly anymore by Alan Cole (Full Stack Economics)

A proliferation of ways for individuals and groups opposed to development have created huge logjams for major projects, with environmental reviews raising project risks and pushing timelines for construction of everything from transit to wind energy into the years. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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