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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Conservation

The destructive green fantasy of the bitcoin fanatics by Jamie Powell & Jemima Kelly (FT)

When you’re not assuming an outcome and backfilling whatever it takes to get to there, Bitcoin is very simply a massive, energy intensive polluter fueled by dirty coal power. [Link; paywall]

The Chip Shortage Is Bad. Taiwan’s Drought Threatens to Make It Worse. by Stephanie Yang (WSJ)

With explosive demand driving a massive chip shortage around the world, Taiwan Semi is facing a huge problem: no water, a critical input for semiconductor manufacturing. [Link; paywall]

YOLO

Robinhood, Three Friends and the Fortune That Got Away by Rachel Louise Ensign (WSJ)

Tracking the progress of three amateur investors through the pandemic and the hundreds of trades that were part of a massive boom in retail trading last year. [Link; paywall]

Welcome to the YOLO Economy by Kevin Roose (NYT)

With vaccinations available, equity markets ripping, and crypto booming, early middle-age Millennials are flipping over the carefully arranged tables of their lives to seize the day. [Link]

It’s not NBA Top Shot, Beeple or a tweet, but IBM is about to turn patents into NFTs by Eric Rosenbaum (CNBC)

IBM and intellectual property specialist IPwe are collaborating on an effort to tokenize patents via the company’s blockchain platform, though it’s not entirely clear how tokenization would increase pattern liquidity. [Link]

Credit

A $1 Trillion Liquidity Surge Is Morphing Into a Leverage Boom by Paul Seligson (Bloomberg)

Pandemic borrowing that helped companies fortify their cash position during the pandemic is being redeployed to M&A, stock buybacks, and dividend hikes. [Link; soft paywall]

Vaccines

High Efficacy of a Low Dose Candidate Malaria Vaccine, R21 in 1 Adjuvant Matrix-M™, with Seasonal Administration to Children in Burkina Faso by Mehreen S. Datoo et al (SSRN)

A new malaria vaccine produced in partnership with Novavax has been shown to be 55.8% effective, a major step towards a widely available vaccine for a disease that kills roughly 1mm people per year around the world. [Link]

Vaccines Won’t Protect Millions of Patients With Weakened Immune Systems by Apoorva Mandavilli (NYT)

While vaccines are highly effective for those with functioning immune systems, millions of people won’t be protected by them due to other conditions; for them, monoclonal antibodies may be the only option. [Link; soft paywall]

Sports

New Jersey border towns surpass Las Vegas as sports gambling hotspot by Chris Sheridan (Basketball News)

Legalized sports betting venues in Fort Lee, New Jersey are regularly pulling in more betting action than the entire state of Nevada as bettors flock in from the Empire State. [Link]

Where Do QBs Come From (ESPN)

Louisiana and New York are by far the standouts when it comes to producing quarterbacks, and while Texas may be a football powerhouse by any other definition it ranks far and away the worst of any state when it comes to players under center. [Link]

Clout

Hip-Hop Loves Cash App, and That Might Be Why Jack Dorsey Bought Tidal by Grant Rindner (GQ)

Venmo was first in the free payment app space, but CashApp has been the big winner thanks to wild popularity in the South that was spread and amplified by the affection of hip hop. [Link]

Instagram star cat dies from injuries after boy trips on leash by Craig McCarthy & Jackie Salo (NYP)

A cat with more than 33,000 on Instagram was killed this week after a boy tripped on the feline’s leash, sparking a major brawl which also included the owners’ pet dog and bird. [Link]

Scarcity

Why are Hawaii visitors cruising around in U-Hauls? Blame the pandemic. by Chelsea Davis (Hawaii News Now)

Rental cars are so scarce in Hawaii that tourists are renting U-Hauls to get around the island during visits from the mainland. [Link]

South Florida restaurant buys robots to fight staffing issues by Michael Hollan (NYP)

A crab shack in South Florida has purchased three robots to take over some front-of-house tasks that typically would be performed by human staff. [Link]

Tragedy

The Fort Bragg Murders by Seth Harp (Rolling Stone)

Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina has hosted a rash of deaths ranging from suicides to homicides, with more than 40 troops stationed at the base dying in 2020 alone. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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