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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ChatGPT Can Decode Fed Speak, Predict Stock Moves From Headlines by Justina Lee (Bloomberg/Yahoo!)

Academic papers applying ChatGPT and similar large language models to finance are starting to roll out and the initial results are broadly promising with ChatGPT doing a serviceable job interpreting stock headlines and Fed statements. [Link; auto-playing video]

Nvidia’s top A.I. chips are selling for more than $40,000 on eBay by Kif Leswing (CNBC)

Graphics cards that are optimal platforms for AI development and deployment are going for as much as $46k on eBay. Tens of thousands of the prior generation of chips led to the development of ChatGPT by OpenAI. [Link]


Let’s talk about the biggest cause of the West’s water crisis by Kenny Torella (Vox)

The vast majority of the Colorado River’s water gets spread onto fields irrigating crops; only about one-fifth goes to all non-crop uses. Of those crops, the vast majority are dedicated to feeding cows, with livestock feed crops sucking down a staggering 1.05 trillion gallons per year. [Link]

Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch Is Bursting With Life by Nidhi Subbaraman (WSJ)

Massive patches of plastic waste in the world’s oceans is both a major threat to some species and a comfortable ecological niche for dozens of species. [Link; paywall]

Office Woes

Brookfield Defaults on $161 Million Office-Property Debt by John Gittelsohn (Bloomberg)

The owner of a large swathe of office building has defaulted on a commercial mortgage-backed security tied to a package of Washington, DC properties. Brookfield has previously walked away from the debt tied to two LA towers. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Houston, Dallas lead the country in office attendance — and empty office space by Dani Romero (Yahoo! Finance)

While Texas markets have lots of people back in the office, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have low vacancy rates with coastal markets finding far more paying renters for their inventory. [Link; auto-playing video]


Home Prices Fell 3% in March—Biggest Annual Drop in Over a Decade by Lily Katz (Redfin)

The sales price of the median home in March was down 3.3% YoY, the fastest drop since at least 2012 as soaring prices in pandemic boomtowns ground into reverse. [Link]

More Flexible Zoning Helps Contain Rising Rents by Alex Horowitz and Ryan Canavan (Pew)

A subset of cities and towns that have eased zoning restrictions appear to have avoided the worst of the national surge in rent, despite robust growth in those cities over the last few years. [Link]

How To Spend It

2022 the United States Average Federal Income Taxes Paid (National Priorities Project)

While taxes don’t directly finance spending in a fiat money system, the breakdown of dollar amounts scaled to tax bills are nonetheless a helpful insight into the things our country prioritizes spending on. [Link]

End-Cretaceous Asteroid Caused Massive Global Tsunami, Peaking At A Mile High (AGU)

The massive impact which ended dinosaurs’ time as the dominant life from on earth and paved the way for mammals to supplant them generated enormous waves that would have soaked land almost a mile above sea level. [Link]


McDonald’s is upgrading its burgers by Danielle Wiener-Bronner (CNN)

Small tweaks including softer buns, gooier cheese, onions on the grill, and more Big Mac sauce are all steps being taken to improve the core product at McDonalds. [Link]

The Amazing Story of How Philly Cheesesteaks Became Huge in Lahore, Pakistan by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid (Philly Mag)

The iconic cheesesteak has become one of the favorite foods of Pakistan’s second city, finding fans for their accessibility and fragrance. [Link]

Feeling Good

They’re the Happiest People in America. We Called Them to Ask Why. by Aaron Zitner (WSJ)

Among the roughly one in ten Americans who report that they are “very happy”, two-thirds are very or moderately religious, a similar percentage prioritize marriage, and few attach high importance to their personal finances. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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