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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The Fed

The Fed Is Making Wall Street Forecasters Pay Attention to Black Unemployment by Matthew Boesler (Bloomberg)

With the Federal Reserve altering its targets for the labor market to be more broad-based, forecasters are focusing on the most down-trodden parts of the labor market instead of headline data. [Link]

To catch a falling knife: US Treasuries and the Fed (Part 3) by Chris Marsh (Exante Data)

A dive into the mechanical relationships that underpin US Treasury markets, which will be forced to digest another robust year of issuance in 2021. [Link]


“We Are Hoarding”: Why the U.S. Still Can’t Donate COVID-19 Vaccines to Countries in Need by Katherine Eban (Vanity Fair)

With the various vaccine candidates delivering far more doses than looked possible during the period when their contracts were negotiated, the US is likely to have a large vaccine surplus this year, but not one that can be passed on to other countries. [Link]

Probable airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a poorly ventilated restaurant by Yuguo Liah, HuaQian, JianHang, Xuguang Chen, Pan Cheng, Hong Ling, Shengqi Wang, Peng Liang, Jiansen Li, Shenglan Xiaoa, Jianjian Wei, Li Liu., Benjamin J. Cowling, and MinKangd (ScienceDirect)

A detailed case study illustrating how important ventilation is for preventing outbreaks of COVID in relatively confined areas. [Link]


The Bubble Burst by Michael Batnick (The Irrelevant Investor)

A post-mortem on the rapid increase in value for the NBA’s blockchain-enabled video clip collectibles called “Top Shot”, which peaked at a market value of more than $2bn (greater than the median NBA franchise’s value) in February. [Link]

Individual Investors Retreat From Markets After Show-Stopping Start to 2021 by Caitlin McCabe (WSJ)

Online brokerage volumes, “meme” stock prices, and options activity are all sliding into reverse as the equity market craze that started the year starts to wear off from unsustainable levels of froth. [Link; paywall]


Patreon’s Valuation Triples to $4 Billion as Platform Draws Creators, Fans by Maria Armental (WSJ)

The latest fundraising round for subscription site Patreon values the company at $4bn, with growth tech hedge fund Tiger Global Management stepping in to the fray along with a range of other existing holders. [Link; paywall]

The new Normal: How one Midwestern town got swept up in the electric vehicle boom by Matt McFarland (CNN Business)

The electric vehicle boom is already having a huge impact on at least one small Midwestern town: Normal, IL is the site of battery-powered truck company Rivian (valued at $27.6bn), which has an edge over other EV truck contenders in the race to deliver emission-free pickups to the market. [Link]

Why the Air Force has its own venture capital fund by Mark Sullivan (Fast Company)

AFVentures will serve as a venture capital fund that can invest in and nurture potential defense technology investments on behalf of the Armed Forces’ airborne wing. [Link]

Roaring 20s

Sources: NBA aims for full arenas for 2021-22 season with increased testing, vaccines by Baxter Holmes (ESPN)

Widespread testing, vaccines, and biometric data are all keys to running NBA games at full capacity this year, with the league planning to put as many people in seats as will fit when games start in the fall. [Link]

Spring breakers face rental-car shortage by David Meyer (NYP)

With a return to normal summer holidays, the cost of renting cars has soared amidst a national shortage of vehicles, driving a 30% increase in prices nationally. Following bankruptcies and reductions in capacity, there just aren’t enough cars available. [Link]

Job Training

Job Training That’s Free Until You’re Hired Is a Blueprint for Biden by Steve Lohr (NYT)

A nonprofit offers a different model of job training: one where only students who actually find a job have to pay of the training, reducing the risk of upgrading skills. [Link; soft paywall]


Why Are Furio’s Shirts So Good on The Sopranos? by Gabriella Paiella (GQ)

An investigation of the shirts worn by Neapolitan mafioso Furio Giunta, who made a habit of draping himself in flowing silk ensembles that made the rest of the show’s characters look downright wooden. [Link]


Why You Stay Up So Late, Even When You Know You Shouldn’t by Ashley Lauretta (Wired)

“Sleep procrastination” is a coping method that relies on technology and anxiety to drive sufferers into late-night binges on phones or computers, keeping them awake far longer than they intended to be. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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