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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Moneyball for Cattle Is Creating an American Steak Renaissance by Lydia Mulvaney and Michael Hirtzer (Bloomberg)

Cheap, accessible genomic testing is reducing uncertainty and raising quality in the top tier of US beef herds. [Link; soft paywall]

6 Hot Takes About the Right Way to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (Bon Appétit)

A compendium of analysis on the right way to make the most time-honored of American snacks, but no consistent result: smooth, crunchy, bread type, jam flavor… [Link]

Chinese Repression

Four Is Forbidden by Yangyang Cheng (ChinaFile)

A remarkable narrative about growing up in a society where the great traumas are suppressed in the name of political expediency; noteworthy as we approach the anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square in early June. [Link]

‘If I disappear’: Chinese students make farewell messages amid crackdowns over labor activism by Gerry Shih (WaPo)

In the height of ironies, the Chinese Communist Party has been detaining and disappearing Marxist students who are pushing back against inequality and corruption in the ostensibly communist nation. [Link; soft paywall]

Labor Markets

Child Care Is Expensive, But Providers Themselves Struggle To Get By by Elly Yu and Martin Austermuhle (American University/WAMU)

While childcare costs have spiraled dramatically higher and out of reach of many working families, the actual workers who keep an eye on the little ones haven’t seen their extremely low wages push much higher, an apparent conundrum. [Link]

Google’s Shadow Work Force: Temps Who Outnumber Full-Time Employees by Daisuke Wakabayashi (NYT)

The majority of people who work “at” Google are temporary employees or contractors, making full-time employment status and the benefits that come with it nothing but a dream for most of the people who keep the company running. [Link; soft paywall]


What Republicans And Democrats Are Doing In The States Where They Have Total Power by Perry Bacon Jr (FiveThirtyEight)

The concept of “revealed preference” is a useful tool from economics; forget what someone says they’ll do, what will they actually do? This article attempts to illustrate revealed preference of both parties by looking at state-level policies put into place over the last couple years when either party has full control. [Link]

Rep. Josh Gottheimer Is A Really, Really Terrible Boss, Former Staffers Say by Ryan Grim (The Intercept)

An amusing set of anecdotes related to a run-of-the-mill meeting with constituents held by a New Jersey Democrat with some extreme sensitivity to his public image. [Link]

Where Democrats And Republicans Live In Your City by Rachael Dottle (FiveThirtyEight)

The great sort has created a geographic fissure between red and blue states, as well as between rural and urban areas. But there are also large splits within cities that create plenty of local polarization within metropolitan areas. [Link]

Higher Education

UIC to offer in-state tuition to students from any of the 573 tribal nations in US (University of Illinois at Chicago)

In a first (as far as we are aware) the University of Illinois at Chicago is offering in-state tuition discounts to students from any of the 573 American Indian and Alaska Native tribal nations scattered around the country. [Link]

The Books of College Libraries Are Turning Into Wallpaper by Dan Cohen (The Atlantic)

While students still expect libraries to be full of books, most of that expectation is driven by aesthetics: the Yale Library has seen a 64% decline in book checkouts over the past decade. [Link]

Public Health

Measles Cases Reach Highest Level in More Than 25 Years, C.D.C. Says by Liam Stack (NYT)

Thanks to misinformation and the following decline in vaccination rates, measles is making a massive comeback; decisions to avoid vaccination has put thousands of children at risk of a disease that widespread vaccination had at one point all but eliminated. [Link; soft paywall]

Conspicuous Consumption

Someone Bought a $400,000 Diamond Ring at Costco by Matthew Boyle (Bloomberg)

In its report on quarterly results this week, Costco management noted a “significant diamond ring purchase, in the $400,000 range”. [Link]

“Salvator Mundi” was pulled from the Louvre’s blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci show. by Nate Freeman (Artsy)

A massive Leonardo da Vinci show is set to open in Paris this October, but curators are excluding a work sold for $450mm at Christies in November of 2017. The furor relates to who actually painted the work, either the master himself or other painters studying under him. [Link]


Treated like trash: south-east Asia vows to return mountains of rubbish from west by Hannah Ellis-Petersen (The Guardian)

Developed countries have been shipping massive volumes of trash to Southeast Asia, with plastics and discarded technology piling up in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. National governments are starting to get sick of it. [Link]

Don’t Overestimate The ‘Semi’ In Semiautonomous Cars by Alex Davies (Wired)

Semiautonomous driving features can be a problem for consumers because they are inconsistent in terms of features and functionality, creating dangerous gaps between what consumers expect and what cars are designed to do. [Link; soft paywall]

Foreign Relations

The Moment Merkel Realized Trump Changes Everything for Germany by Patrick Donahue (Bloomberg)

A tick-tock detailing the frame of mind for German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she grapples with the failure of the United States in dealing with its long-term allies. That phenomenon will extend beyond the current President’s term as hard-won credibility has been squandered. [Link; auto-playing video, soft paywall]

The Lighter Side

The Kentucky Derby, as Told by the Horses by John Kenney (The New Yorker)

What would horses who run the Kentucky Derby have to say about the race if they were able to tell us what is on their minds? [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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