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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Profiles

This Vegan Billionaire Disrupted the Crypto Markets. Stocks May Be Next. by Alexander Osipovich (WSJ)

The founder of FTX is introducing 24-hours-per-day stock trading, betting markets in anything, and more as he seeks to new markets for his exchange, FTX. [Link; paywall]

Quantum Leap by Akshat Rathi (Bloomberg)

One of the largest battery SPACs has spent a decade chewing through venture capital funding and is still years from a final product, despite being a lynchpin in VW’s plans for electrical vehicles. [Link; soft paywall]

Big Geography

China’s hydropower grab in the Himalayas by Michael Cruickshank (Substack)

A remote valley high in the largest mountain range on earth is the likely site of China’s next massive infrastructure project: the largest dam on the planet. [Link]

Google Earth is now a 3D time machine by Ron Amadeo (Ars Technica)

A new feature will allow users to move backwards in time as much as 20 years in order to see how landscapes are changing. [Link]

International Politics

Notes on the Political Economy of Britain by Matthew Zeitlin (Substack)

A dissection of what makes the UK such a complicated picture in terms of both economics and politics: a heavy reliance on services and a output highly concentrated in and around just one city. [Link]

The Dollar’s Sliding Share in Global Currency Reserves Is a Red Herring by Mike Bird (WSJ)

While the share of the dollar hit a 25 year low as a share of official reserves, driven by increases in the share of reserves held in euros and yen. But those shifts mask important details underpinning the dollar’s still-dominant role in the global financial system. [Link; paywall]

Texas Innovation

Fifty Years Ago a Texan Changed Happy Hour Forever by Patricia Sharpe (Texas Monthly)

Early in the 1970s, a young restauranter in Dallas gave up on blended margs and introduced the first frozen margarita, taking inspiration from 7-11’s ubiquitous Slurpee machines. [Link]

Domino’s, Nuro to begin autonomous pizza deliveries in Houston by Rebecca Bellan (TechCrunch)

An autonomous delivery company will start dropping pizzas off to customers without involving a driver this week in Houston. [Link]

Vaccines

CDC Identifies Small Group of Covid-19 Infections Among Fully Vaccinated Patients by Robbie Whelan (WSJ)

The CDC has been able to identify less than 6,000 COVID cases among the more than 66 million Americans who have been fully vaccinated against the disease. [Link; paywall]

How Long Do Covid-19 Vaccines Provide Immunity? by Sumathi Reddy (WSJ)

Follow-up studies to the initial approvals of COVID vaccines suggest immunity lasts at least six months, and could be significantly longer; unfortunately we won’t know how long the shots ward off the disease until more time has passed from the initial doses. [Link; paywall]

Sports

Pitcher Hope Trautwein Throws A Perfect Game Of All Strikeouts by Chad Campbell (NPR)

A softball hurler from the University of North Texas made history Sunday, striking out the entire opposing side in each at-bat; the feat has never been pulled off in NCAA Division 1 softball history. [Link]

The Pop Warner Offense That Confounded Sean Payton, and What It Says About Offensive Innovation in the NFL by Chris Brown (Grantland)

A Pop Warner coach managed to get the best of an NFL signal caller not once but twice thanks to a throwback offense that dates to the earliest days of the game. [Link]

Personal Finances

Two thirds of adults haven’t used cash in over 12 months by George Iddenden (Charged Retail)

A UK survey found that 64% of UK adults haven’t used physical cash in the past year, driven by the growing use of contactless payments. [Link]

New Investors Discover Tax Pitfalls of Robinhood and Other Trading Apps by Laura Saunders (WSJ)

Free-to-trade equity market apps make it easy to move in and out of positions, but a lot harder to optimize for taxes, which many new traders are finding out the hard way. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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