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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Changing Patterns

Coronavirus Escape: To the Suburbs by C.J. Hughes (NYT)

New Yorkers who have spent their adult lives in apartments across the Five Burroughs are making a bid for suburban living, nudged into a new environment by changing behavior and re-evaluated risk. [Link; soft paywall]

The Small-Business Die-Off Is Here by Annie Lowery (The Atlantic)

Low cash balances and tight margins made small businesses more vulnerable to the COVID collapse in spending, and it’s going to drive massive consolidation for a long time to come. [Link]

Travel From New York City Seeded Wave of U.S. Outbreaks by Benedict Carey and James Glanz (NYT)

COVID-19 ran wild through New York City in early March, which led visitors to carry the virus from the city to the far-flung hinterlands of Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona. New York wasn’t the only major community spread event, but it was the most severe. [Link; soft paywall]

Market Mavens

Ken Griffin’s Shutdown Playbook Kept Him on Top of Markets by Liz McCormick (Bloomberg)

Some quick thinking and infrastructure building means Citadel was able to quickly shift employees into a sequestered environment with all its necessary infrastructure. [Link; soft paywall]

Buffett’s Chance for a Blockbuster Deal Faded When Fed Stepped In by Katherine Chiglinsky (Bloomberg)

When the Fed stepped in to ease the credit and markets logjam in March, it allowed companies to find financing on much more generous terms than Berkishire was willing to give. [Link; soft paywall]

Life Down The Rabbit Hole

There Are No Hours or Days in Coronatime by Arielle Pardes (Wired)

Perceptions of time are not consistent amidst a lockdown that removes both the every day routines an the bigger events we reference to keep track of time’s passing. [Link]

Can we escape from information overload? by Tom Lamont (The Economist 1843)

What happens when we eliminate all light? A London artist did so and his experience in the dark for a month is instructive about the challenges of a world constantly demanding our attention. [Link]

This Week In Tech

Health Officials Say ‘No Thanks’ to Contact-Tracing Tech by Fred Vogelstein (Wired)

Tech giants tried to step in and develop rapid contract tracing solutions, but their efforts haven’t gotten much love from governments, who prefer tried and true methods of figuring out where people have been and who they might have exposed. [Link]

How Politicians Spend Their Money on the World’s Largest Social Media Platforms by Nicoló (Medium)

Various social media platforms offer detailed sources of information on how politicians around the world spend campaign dollars to reach voters. [Link]

The U.S. Labor Market During the Beginning of the Pandemic Recession by Tomaz Cajner, Leland D. Crane, Ryan A. Decker, John Grigsby, Adrian Hamins-Puertolas, Erik Hurst, Christopher Kurz, and Ahu Yildirmaz (UChicago Working Papers)

Using ADP data, the authors find a 22% decline in private sector employment, a 4.5% decline in hours worked by those who didn’t lose their jobs, much larger impacts for lower-paid workers, and most concerningly large declines in the number of going concerns. [Link; 52 page PDF]

Is the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Over? LongTerm Effects of In Utero Influenza Exposure in the Post-1940 U.S. Population by Doughlas Almond (Journal of Political Economy)

Babies of mothers pregnant during the 1918 flu pandemic had lower educational attainment, higher disability, lower income, and lower socioeconomic status than the birth cohorts close to them. [Link; 41 page PDF]

Pandemic Sports

The Dolphins have a plan to start letting fans attend NFL games, and it’s wild by James Dator (SBNation)

One-quarter of planned capacity attendance, six foot separations in lines at doors, pre-booked arrival times, online orders for stadium food, and more details feature in proposed plans for Miami’s stadium during football season. [Link]

How the Internet Created a Sports-Card Boom—and Why the Pandemic Is Fueling It by Emma Baccellieri (SI)

While attending sports events is still generally not safe, opening a pack of cards and rooting through the contents is a very different animal. [Link]

UFC Comes Out Punching for Pandemic Embattled ESPN by Ira Boudway, Eben Novy-Williams, and Lucas Shaw (Bloomberg Quint)

Pre-fight testing and antibody screenings will be conducted before a May 9th lineup of bouts. This will be the first live sports broadcast in the US since mid-March. [Link; soft paywall]

Weird News

A Hair-Raising History of the Flowbee by Jake Rossen (Mental Floss)

With millions unable to head to the barber, the appeal of the informercial-ready Flowbee is very, very real: no muss, no fuss! [Link]

Scientists discover evidence of ancient, nitrogen-rich Martian groundwater hiding in Antarctica by Rafi Letzter (Live Science)

Advances in technology and technique have allowed scientists to confirm that ancient meteors carrying debris from Mars included nitrogen rich deposits which indicate the presence of seas conducive to life on the Red Planet. [Link]


When Schools Reopen, Don’t Ditch Online Learning by Aly Kassam-Remtulla (Wired)

Entirely-remote curricula are almost certainly not going to fly, but the COVID-19 outbreak has proven that some of the venues for remote learning can help students by improving flexibility. [Link]


LeVar Burton still loves reading aloud. His storytelling might be what you need right now. by Caitlin Gibson (WaPo)

The host of the “Reading Rainbow” is still reading stories: to children, to listeners on his podcast, and to his followers on Twitter. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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