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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Tipping at Self-Checkout Has Customers Crying ‘Emotional Blackmail’ (WSJ)
Since when did paying for a cup of coffee warrant a 20% tip?  Consumers are being inundated with gratuity requests, so their employers don’t have to pay them as much. [link]

Wendy’s, Google Train Next-Generation Order Taker: an AI Chatbot (WSJ)
The next time you go to the drive-through to order French Fries it may be a bot that takes your order.  This is one way to solve the labor shortage. Will we have to tip the bots too? [link]


Robinhood to Launch 24-Hour Trading on Weekdays in Stocks and ETFs (WSJ)
Just what we need more to time to trade illiquid markets. Robinhood announced last week that it will offer “round-the-clock trading between 8 p.m. ET Sunday and 8 p.m. ET Friday in 43 securities, including some popular stocks such as Amazon.com, Apple and Tesla.” [link]

Investment App Commonwealth Hits Big With Mage’s Kentucky Derby Win (Front Office Sports)
Shareholders of Commonwealth made a $170,000 investment in Kentucky Derby winner Mage. That stake is now worth over $5 million, a 30x return for shareholders. [link]


The Executive Who Keeps Tesla Rolling Isn’t Elon Musk (WSJ)
A profile of Tesla’s CFO, Zach Kirkhorn, who many have credited with shoring up the company’s financial strength. Unlike Musk, who has over 100 million Twitter followers, Kirkhorn has 63.  “He doesn’t take the limelight from Elon”. Many analysts who cover the stock have never even had a one-on-one conversation with him. [link]

Lithium is becoming more crucial in a warming world, but Maine’s huge deposits may never be mined because of environmental concerns. (Boston Globe)
Lithium deposits near Newry, Maine may be the largest in the country which would provide a strong boost to the state’s economy, but environmental regulations have prevented any development of the deposits. Too bad. Guess it’s back to burning coal and gasoline. [link]

End of a love affair: AM radio is being removed from many cars (Washington Post)
Due to interference from electric batteries, many EVs are being made without AM radios.  But now where will we go for our political talk radio? [link]

Science and Nature

The Untold Story of the Boldest Supply-Chain Hack Ever (Wired)
The backstory behind the 2020 SolarWinds hack, which is considered the boldest supply chain hack ever. [link]

Before Smartphones and the National Weather Service, There Was Grandma’s Knee (New York Times)
Borrowing from ‘old school’ methods, researchers have developed a new weather forecasting model that mimics the flexibility of animal joints and the movement of clouds, potentially improving prediction accuracy. [link]

Hammerhead sharks are first fish found to ‘hold their breath’ (Nature)
It’s not just people that hold their breath underwater.  This article on hammerhead sharks describes why as well as other traits of the unique shark. [link]


NFL schedule 2023 winners, losers: Jordan Love takes center stage; Colts shut out of prime time (The Athletic)
Only the NFL can manage to drum up so much excitement for the release of the next season’s schedule.  Teams with the easiest expected schedules include the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers, while the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints appear to have the toughest road to the playoffs. [link]


How soon and at what height will China’s economy peak? (economist)
Estimates vary, but at some point between 2025 and 2040, the Chinese economy is expected to peak and an aging population and rising levels of debt pose long-term challenges to country. [link]

Moving Out of a Flood Zone? That May Be Risky! (NY Fed)
Just because you move out of a ‘flood zone’ doesn’t necessarily mean your house won’t flood.  This article discusses the potential risks of relocating out of flood-prone areas and explores potential policy solutions to help homeowners make informed decisions about relocation and mitigate the risks of flooding. [link]

The Monetary-Fiscal Policy Mix and Central Bank Strategy (St. Louis Fed)
Hawkish Federal Reserve member James Bullard describes why the Fed needs to counter easy fiscal policy, and that while continued disinflation is likely, it is not guaranteed. [link]

Mother’s Day

How Mother’s Day became its founder’s worst nightmare (National Geographic)
Ever wonder about the history behind Mother’s Day and how it ultimately became commercialized? [link]

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Have a great weekend!

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