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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Current Events

How Big is the Racial Wealth Gap? by Nick Maggiulli (Of Dollars And Data)

Some detailed data on the yawning gap between the wealth of white and black America, and how those gaps transcend any effort to adjust for different circumstances. [Link]

Hedonometer (Vermont Complex Systems Center)

The combination of a viral pandemic, economic collapse, and massive civic unrest fueled by the murder of George Floyd and further police brutality sent national mood plunging to unprecedented lows as measured by sentiment on Twitter. [Link]

Snake Oil

A mysterious company’s coronavirus papers in top medical journals may be unraveling by Kelly Servick and Martin Enserink (Science)

A study credited with debunking the use of hydroxychloroquine used data that may not be legitimate, and its collapse has re-opened debate about the use of the drug as a treatment for COVID-19. [Link]

Top journal retracts study claiming masks ineffective in preventing COVID-19 spread (Retraction Watch)

A study that argued masks didn’t help contain the transmission of COVID-19 has been pulled after major failures in methodology. [Link]

Long & Short Tails

COVID-19 Can Last for Several Months by Ed Yong (The Atlantic)

An investigation of the minority of COVID-19 victims who suffer persistent, long-term side effects from the disease that linger long after the acute dangers of the virus pass. [Link]

No new COVID-19 cases from Lake of the Ozarks crowds, Missouri health director says by Michele Munz (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Memorial Day crowds at the Lake of the Ozarks drew lots of attention as possible superspreader events, but there has been no subsequent surge in cases following the revelry. [Link]


Is It Safe to Reopen Schools? These Countries Say Yes by Bojan Pancevski and Naja Dandanell (WSJ)

COVID-19 transmission rates have not surged in some countries that have re-opened schools. Weather may be a factor, but for now it looks like younger students aren’t big risks for transmission. [Link; paywall]

Summer Camp Kids Are America’s Coronavirus Test Subjects by Katherine Rosman (NYT)

Efforts to make sure that campers can safely enjoy their remote summer excursions have reached a fever pitch. [Link; soft paywall]

The Results Are In for Remote Learning: It Didn’t Work by Tawnell D. Hobbs and Lee Hawkins (WSJ)

Students fell behind as schools across the country shuttered to protect children and their families, one example of the cost associated with various COVID containment policies. [Link; paywall]

Finance Industry

The Buy-Side Trader Is Getting Outsourced in Coronavirus Crisis by Justina Lee (Bloomberg)

With an ever-proliferating range of execution venues and strategies for insuring best levels, buy-side traders are being replaced with middlemen who have direct relationships with the sell side. [Link; soft paywall]

Weird History

Ancient Israelites Used Cannabis as Temple Offering, Study Finds by Ariel David (Haaretz)

Residue on a shrine found at a Tel Arad in the Negev Desert of Israel suggests that Israelite worshippers used marijuana in their ceremonies. [Link]

Last Person to Receive Civil War-Era Pension Dies by Michael M. Phillips (WSJ)

The daughter of a Civil War veteran has passed at the age of 1990. Her father, Mose Triplett, started as a Confederate but defected to the Union. His daughter Irene kept receiving her dad’s pension of $73.13 per month until she passed in North Carolina last week. [Link]

Receipts & Outlays

High-Income Nonfilers Owing Billions of Dollars Are Not Being Worked by the Internal Revenue Service (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)

A new report shows thousands of high-income Americans don’t file taxes and are estimated to owe billions. [Link; 44 page PDF]

Economic Effects of Additional Unemployment Benefits of $600 per Week (CBO)

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that failure to renew special $600 per week benefits offered to current unemployment insurance recipients would reduce growth in 2020, but that work disincentives would reduce employment versus the baseline scenario for both 2020 and 2021. [Link]

Social Media

TikTok becomes political platform ahead of US election by Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan (FT)

Younger Americans are flocking to TikTok and it’s proving fertile ground to develop political messages crafted by specific ideological interest groups. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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