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.


March of Italy’s mini-BoTs may split the euro by John Dizard (FT)

The populist coalition that’s set to form a government in Italy has proposed a very…”interesting” mechanism for funding public spending increases, and one that has some historical precedent. [Link; paywall]

Germany’s Great European Heist by Adam Tooze and Shahin Vallée (Project Syndicate)

While Germany is perfectly happy to demand a certain two-part fiscal and monetary discipline on the part of the Eurozone, but seems to completely reject that approach when it comes to defense spending. [Link]

Europe’s Data Protection Law Is a Big, Confusing Mess by Allison Cool (NYT)

A review of GDPR, the new EU directive covering the use of personal data by companies and other institutions. While this argument probably goes a bit too far, the broader point that execution has been lacking is worthwhile. [Link; soft paywall]

American Wealth

In the second Gilded Age, the mansions get bigger, and the homeless get closer by Rick Hampson (USA Today)

A survey of one particular consequence of soaring inequality in one particular facet of one particular city’s life: the link between income and wealth disparities on how people live and live with each other in Los Angeles. [Link]

How Much Money Do You Need to Be Wealthy in America? by Suzanne Woolley (Bloomberg)

Americans consider $2.4 million as the cut-off between being “wealthy” and being less than that per a new piece of survey data from Charles Schwab. [Link; soft paywall]


Drone Maker Accused of Covering Up Bomb in Bag on Flight by Anders Melin and Brandon Kochkodin (Bloomberg)

A short-seller dug up an insistence where a drone company’s employee managed to get a drone equipped with explosives onto a Delta flight from Salt Lake to LA. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

The SEC Has an Opportunity You Won’t Want to Miss: Act Now! (SEC)

In an effort to make the public more aware of scam initial coin offerings (ICOs), the SEC has set up a website that appears to be a promotion of a scam coin. [Link]


Global surge in air-conditioning set to stoke electricity demand by Ed Crooks (FT)

A new IEA report argues that income growth in large, hot countries will create massive new electricity demand fueled by increasing use of air conditioners. [Link; soft paywall]

Drug target for curing the common cold by Michelle Roberts (BBC)

Researchers in the UK think they may have found a way to boost the body’s immune response as a way to combat the common cold. [Link]


A New Atlanta, United by Soccer by Ken Belson (NYT)

With enormous crowds and similar on-pitch success, Atlanta United is the most popular soccer team in America, and has risen in a town that seems like the polar opposite of a soccer hotbed. [Link; soft paywall]

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer long wondered if he’s related to JFK. At 72, he learned the truth. by Dave Sheinin (WaPo)

A baseball legend and the story of a genealogical treasure trove that eventually peeled back the onion of genealogy for the adopted ball player. [Link; soft paywall]

Business Models

How to Lease a $50,000 BMW for Less Than a Subway Pass by Gabrielle Coppola (Bloomberg)

With automakers incentivized by both policy and the need to win the next great automotive arms race, electric vehicles are available on the very, very cheap. [Link; soft paywall]

Inside the business model for botnets (MIT Technology Review)

Botnets are a big risk, but with millions on the line for willing sellers of DDoS attacks, click fraud, or spam, they can generate significant revenues for their operators. [Link]


I Tried to Get an AI to Write This Story by Paul Ford (Bloomberg)

A lovely personal essay about the trials and tribulations of machine learning, both at the level of coding it and in the world at large. [Link; soft paywall]

Data Security

Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets by Armen Keteyian (CBS)

Unknown to most users, photocopiers contain hard drives which log a copy of every job they process. When improperly disposed, those hard drives are a treasure trove of information like the one CBS found. [Link]


Jack Bogle’s Battle by Leslie P. Norton (Barron’s)

A long interview with the man who did more to democratize index investing than anyone else, the founder of Vanguard Group. [Link; paywall]

Emerging Markets

Franklin Templeton buys $2.25bn in Argentine bonds by Robin Wigglesworth and Benedict Mander (FT)

A survey of the outlook for Argentina, which is in the midst of its latest meltdown, this time in the form of a run on the currency, a ceiling on USDARS, and an appeal to the IMF. [Link]

Ice History

Rise and fall of Roman Empire exposed in Greenland ice samples by Katie Langin (Science)

Using samples from ice cores in Greenland, researchers have identified a series of economic booms and busts in antiquity that threw lead off into the atmosphere. [Link]

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Have a great Sunday!

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