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.

Tech Dystopia

Palantir Knows Everything About You by Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman, and Jordan Robertson (Bloomberg)

After a JPMorgan team that partnered with data analytics company Palantir went rogue, the company curtailed use of the firm’s services. What makes this concerning is the fact that Palantir also partners with law enforcement around the country, providing police a potentially egregious weapon that can be misused. [Link]

The latest trend for tech interviews: Days of unpaid homework by Melissa McEwen (Quartz)

Tech companies are taking to assigning large batches of work as evidence that potential hires are competent. [Link]

Arrogance Peaks in Silicon Valley by M. G. Siegler (500ish Words)

A righteous and warranted polemic against the insulated bubble of ideas that Silicon Valley has become, out of touch and impatient with society as a whole. [Link]

Tech Utopia

The End of the Joint As We Know It by Alyssa Bereznak (The Ringer)

With former Speaker of the House John Boehner partnering with a marijuana comapny and Senate Minority Leader Schumer calling for national legalization this week, the war on weed appears to be winding down. Get ready for a wave of new ways to imbibe the intoxicant. [Link]

Robot Conquers One of the Hardest Human Tasks: Assembling Ikea Furniture by Niraj Chokshi (NYT)

A robot has successfully assembled a piece of furniture from Ikea, achieving what we ourselves have failed at before and offering a vision of a world without Swedish instructions. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Stinks To High Heaven

The UK Refused To Raid A Company Suspected Of Money Laundering, Citing Its Tory Donations by Heidi Blake, Tom Warren, Richard Holmes, and Jane Bradley (Buzzfeed)

In a bombshell piece of investigative reporting, Buzzfeed details a decision not to raid a company despite evidence of wrongdoing because they are a donor to the current government’s party and a charity linked to the Royal Family. [Link]

A Train Full of Poop From New York Is Stranded in a Tiny Alabama Town by Jeff Martin and Jay Reeves (Bloomberg/AP)

New York exports human waste thanks to a federal ban on dumping into oceans, and one train carrying a load of that export is currently stranded to the dismay of a small Alabama town. [Link]

Sports

As Teams Seek More Relief, 13-Man Pitching Staffs Are the New Normal by Jared Diamond (WSJ)

The days of the complete game are long gone, as high pitch speeds and freakishly talented hitters have eroded the starter’s ability to go deep into the later innings. Now, shifts in strategy are again pushing up the number of relief pitchers necessary for a team to function. [Link; paywall]

Everyone Wants To Go Home During Extra Innings — Maybe Even The Umps by Michael Lopez and Brian Mills (538)

By the time innings stretch to double-digits, umpires start to get ready for the end of the game just like the rest of us. [Link]

How the Boston Marathon’s Runner-Up Shocked the Running World by Sara Germano (WSJ)

The first American woman in 33 years won the Boston Marathon, and her story is remarkable: mid-twenties, unknown, unsponsored, and running her second marathon ever. Her story is one of grit more than extreme athletic ability, arguably making it all the more impressive. [Link]

Metals

Treasure island: Rare metals discovery on remote Pacific atoll is worth billions of dollars by Chris Ciaccia (Fox News)

So-called “rare earths” aren’t actually that “rare” but they are certainly valuable and a discovery on a tiny Japanese atoll has been heralded as a game changer worth billions. [Link]

Russia Sanctions Throw Global Aluminum Industry Into Chaos by Thomas Biesheuvel and Jack Farchy (Bloomberg)

Sanctions on Russia’s United Co. Rusal have led to major disruptions in the global aluminum value chain; the company produces both inputs and final outputs, making the entire thing quite a mess. [Link; auto-playing video]

Helpful Hints

27 Incredibly Useful Things You Didn’t Know Chrome Could Do by JR Raphael (Fast Company)

Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin: helpful productivity tips for the ubiquitous Google web browser. [Link]

Publishing

Why All My Books Are Now Free (Aka A Lesson In Amazon Money Laundering) (Meb Faber)

An interesting post describing the litany of non-publisher booksellers on Amazon and how they may be used for money laundering. [Link]

Taxes

Americans Spent Record Amounts on Accounting Fees Last Year by Alexandre Tanzi and Vincent Del Giudice (Bloomberg)

Tax preparers of various types hauled in $44bn in revenue in Q4, working out to roughly $135 per person. [Link]

Dining

The Quarterback of the Kitchen? It’s Not Always the Chef by Tejal Rao (NYT)

While the head chef gets the TV shows, the expediter is the real hero, making sure that the complicated dance of the kitchen staff stays in sync and that dishes get to tables quickly. [Link]

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Have a great Sunday!

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