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.


These Physicists Watched A Clock Tick For 14 Years Straight by Sophia Chen (Wired)

Long-term, highly monotonous experiments have a place in physics, just like every other type of science. In this case, it’s a question of proving that the laws of physics are in fact constant. [Link]

Your Next Glass of Wine Might Be A Fake – And You’ll Love It by Bruce Schoenfeld (Wired)

Precise chemical analyses of some of the best wines available yields a wealth of information about what makes them taste the way they do. In some cases, that flavor can be replicated. [Link]


The Missing Profits of Nations by Gabriel Zucman (NBER Working Papers)

Using a unique data set, the authors estimate roughly 40% of multinational corporate profits are shifted to tax havens in an effort to avoid national taxation. [Link; 44 page PDF]

The Most Successful Ethnic Group In The U.S. May Surprise You by Molly Fosco (Ozy)

We’ll save you the click, but you should really read through this analysis of why Nigerian-Americans are consistently the best-educated around. [Link]

The world’s biggest hedge fund warns: ‘2019 is setting up to be a dangerous period for the economy’ by Graham Rapier (Business Insider)

The world’s largest hedge fund sees significant economic risk next year, driven mostly by the fact that central banks are tightening policy. [Link]

Labor Markets

U.S. economy can’t keep on truckin’ without more drivers to ease flat-bed shortage by Jeffry Bartash (MarketWatch)

Truck drivers are apparently going extinct – at least relative to demand. The paucity of drivers is pushing up costs across the economy. [Link]

America’s gig economy is smaller now than before Uber existed, official data show by Danielle Paquette and Heather Long (WaPo)

While the consensus has been that the “gig” economy has been growing rapidly, recent data updated by the BLS suggest quite the opposite. [Link; soft paywall]

Shale Country Is Out of Workers and Dangling 100% Pay Hikes by David Wethe (Bloomberg)

Seeking any help they can, companies in West Texas are facing a scorching hot regional economy featuring surging home prices, huge wages, and no hired help to be found. [Link; auto-playing video, soft paywall]

Tech Tales

Adobe Photoshop Source Code by Len Shustek (Computer History Museum)

If ancient (by the standards of code, anyways) programs are your cup of tea, this story includes a link to the original source code of Photoshop, first rolled out in 1990. [Link]

Driverless Cars Still Handled by Humans—From Afar by Tim Higgins (WSJ)

One solution to driverless car testing is to pilot the vehicles remotely, rather than with a human in the car and directly behind the wheel. [Link; paywall]

This baby’s first word was ‘Alexa’ by Christian Gollayan (NYP)

A British baby’s first word was mimicked from his parents’ use of the Amazon voice-enabled assistant, which will at the very least make for a good wedding toast some day. [Link]

This Former Tesla Staffer Became an Internet Millionaire in His Spare Time by Zeke Faux (Bloomberg)

A Tesla product manager is trying to bring ubiquitous Korean hangover cures to the American market, and his start-up is now valued at more than $33mm. [Link; soft paywall]


CNN’s Anthony Bourdain dead at 61 by Brian Stelter (CNN)

After spending a career exposing his viewers to some of the most unique and untested experiences and cultures related to food around the world, Anthony Bourdain took his on life on Friday. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255; please consider calling it if you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or thinking about self-harm. [Link]

Trade History

Exclusive: Trump invokes War of 1812 in testy call with Trudeau over tariffs by Jim Acosta and Paul Newton (CNN)

An inventive bit of justification for levying new tariffs against one’s closest ally: 200+ years ago there was a war that ended with the nation’s capital in a smoldering ruin, retaliation for the burning of York (modern Toronto). [Link; auto-playing video]


Lottery Winner Arrested For Dumping $200,000 of Manure On Ex-Boss’ Lawn (World News Daily Report)

After winning $125mm in a lottery draw, Brian Morris of Illinois delivered 20,000 tons of manure to his former boss’ front yard. [Link]

Data Driven

Is your collected data useless after GDPR? by understand.ai (Medium)

New EU regulations mean that faces and license plates captured in data collected by self-driving car testing could be considered personal data collected without consent, posing a huge problem. [Link]

Plain Text vs. HTML Emails: Which Is Better? [New Data] by Niti Shah (HubSpot)

An analysis of the tradeoffs facing email marketers when considering whether to use pleasantly-formatted and feature-rich HTML or quick and simple plain text. [Link]

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Have a great Sunday!

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