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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Assessing Achievement

IQ rates are dropping in many developed countries and that doesn’t bode well for humanity by Evan Horowitz (NBC)

IQ test results are starting to slide in a variety of developed countries, suggesting that the world is getting dumber, posing concerns about the ability to innovate…though interestingly American results buck that trend. [Link]

Many More Students, Especially the Affluent, Get Extra Time to Take the SAT by Douglas Belkin, Jennifer Levitz and Melissa Korn (WSJ)

An increasing number of students are getting extra time to take the SAT, and the doctors notes which allow for that advantage are easier to come by for the affluent. [Link; paywall]

What the Childhood Years of Tiger Woods and Roger Federer Can Teach Us About Success by David Epstein (Sports Illustrated)

An instructive comparison of two sports stars who took a completely opposite approach to early sports, yet both ended up at the absolute pinnacle of success. [Link]

The Peculiar Blindness of Experts by David Epstein (The Atlantic)

An obscure bet between a Malthusian scientist and a more hopeful economist offers a lens into the sometimes perverse incentives and frictions which have made long-term forecasting so unreliable in recent decades. [Link]

Tariff Trouble

New China Tariffs Increase Costs to U.S. Households by Mary Amiti, Stephen J. Redding, and David E. Weinstein (NYFed)

Previous research suggested that the average US household paid $414 more for goods based on 2018 tariff levels. The newest 15% tariff rate on $200bn of goods adds $831 to consumers’ costs, and notably the deadweight loss goes from 32% to 75% of the total tariff costs. [Link]

The US tariffs on China have been paid almost entirely by US importers: IMF study by Fred Imbert (CNBC)

An IMF study was also released this week suggesting that consumers have “borne almost entirely” the costs of tariffs levied by the Trump Administration. [Link]

Health Care

CVS to test unregulated vitamins and dietary supplements by Shamard Charles (NBC)

As a condition of stocking unregulated supplements, CVS will start requiring independent testing to make sure that what it sells to consumers will be what is advertised. [Link]

End-to-end lung cancer screening with three-dimensional deep learning on low-dose chest computed tomography by Diego Ardila, Atilla P. Kiraly, Sujeeth Bharadwaj, Bokyung Choi, Joshua J. Reicher, Lily Peng, Daniel Tse, Mozziyar Etemadi, Wenxing Ye, Greg Corrado, David P. Naidich, and Shravya Shetty (Nature)

Lung cancer screening that catches the disease early can lead to drastically lower mortality, so offering it at lower prices could have a major impact by broadening access. This paper demonstrates a deep learning technique that achieves a 94% success rate diagnosing lung cancer, offering a hope for cheaper access. [Link]

Climate Change

Geophysical constraints on the reliability of solar and wind power in the United States by Matthew R. Shaner, Steven J. Davis, Nathan S. Lewis, and Ken Caldeira (Royal Society of Chemistry)

Using 30+ years of data on weather and temperature patterns, the authors illustrate the physical constraints on operating a power grid exclusively on solar and wind technology, assuming no large-scale storage capable of matching electrical generation timing to demand timing. [Link]

Nudging out support for a carbon tax by David Hagmann, Emily H. Ho, and George Lowenstein (Nature)

The authors show that “nudge” efforts to reduce climate impact (fly less, reduce electricity or plastic consumption, etc) reduce support for larger climate change action because they are perceived as a burden. [Link]

Social Media

CrossFit, Inc. Suspends Use Of Facebook And Associated Properties (CrossFit)

After a large diet information sharing group was deleted by Facebook, CrossFit is abandoning the platform and all its properties. [Link]

Tech Dystopia

It’s Getting Way Too Easy to Create Fake Videos of People’s Faces by Samantha Cole (Vice)

Neural networks and other “AI” techniques are getting easier and easier to operate, leading to the possibility that video can be easily faked in order to deceive. [Link]

Hackers have been holding the city of Baltimore’s computers hostage for 2 weeks by Emily Stewart (Vox)

Hackers have taken control of computer networks operated by the city government, demanding about $100,000 in bitcoin to unlock them. [Link]

Tech Utopia

Driverless Cars Working Together Can Speed Up Traffic By 35% by Saravana (Gimate)

A new University of Cambridge study has shown that coordinated driverless cars could increase traffic volumes by 35% or more. [Link]

Personal Finance

Broke Millennials Are Flocking to Financial Guru Dave Ramsey. Is His Advice Any Good? by Kristen Bahler (Yahoo!/Money)

An evangelical radio host from Tennessee is offering tough love and uncompromising anti-debt messages to millions via the 15 hours per week he blasts from radios around the country. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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