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.

Nailing The Number

Satellite Data vs. Mobile Data — A Complementary Approach by RS Metrics (Medium)

A look at how combining very different but equally innovative approaches to measuring customer traffic and activity at businesses can yield superior results. [Link]

Wall Street Looks to Superforecasting to Predict the Financial Future by Mike Bird (WSJ)

A snapshot of how “superforecasting” (a complex approach that rewards prior success in addition to other factors) is being used in finance to help derive more precise predictions about the future of asset markets and businesses. [Link; paywall]


Google Engineers Refused to Build Security Tool to Win Military Contracts by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)

Amidst growing skepticism about the role AI or machine learning techniques are playing in the global national security apparatus (see for instance how China deploys the technology in areas with high Muslim minority populations, link), engineers at Google have refused to work on tools used to win military contracts. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

SoftBank: inside the ‘Wild West’ $100bn fund shaking up the tech world by Arash Massoudi, Kana Inagaki, and Leo Lewis (FT)

With $100bn raised to invest in potentially transformative (but totally unproven and aggressively valued) technologies around the world, SoftBank is testing the boundaries of what is viable in early stage and venture investing. [Link; paywall]

Financial Regulation

ECB seeks compromise solution to banks’ bad loans problem by Francesco Canepa and Balazs Koranyi (Reuters)

The ECB is trying to forge a consensus set of rules that balances an approach based on delinquency time and specific circumstances which impact the . [Link]

The SEC Will Leave Good ICOs Alone by Matt Levine (Bloomberg)

The Securities and Exchange Commission is in the process of thinking about how to handle the evolving cyprtocurrency and token markets, and is not sparing the nuance. [Link; soft paywall]


Lawmakers scramble to find solution to family separation policy with eye on midterms by Peter Doocy (Fox News)

Separating families at the border is the latest political firestorm for the Trump White House (for instance, “tender age shelters”, link), and lawmakers on both sides are measuring their responses with an eye on the November midterm elections. [Link]


How The Opioid Crisis Is Depressing America’s Labor Force by Samantha Raphelson (NPR)

A recent study (direct link; 59 page PDF) suggests that as much as one-quarter of the decline in the prime-age labor force participation rate is due to the increasing use of opioids. [Link]

An Idea For Decreasing Income Segregation And Increasing Economic Mobility by Adam Ozimek (Forbes)

This proposal suggests adjusting college applicants by the income of the area where they live, creating an incentive for high income families to live in lower-income areas. The economic segregation between high and low income Americans has been widely blamed for increasing income and wealth inequality, exacerbating other factors if not serving as a source of the problem.  [Link; auto-playing video]

Millennials moving out of Mom and Dad’s place, study shows by Sarah O’Brien (CNBC)

A stronger economy appears to be helping younger Americans into their own households and out from the protective custody of their parents after years of soft labor markets. [Link]

Economic History

Business Booms and Depressions since 1775 (Tension Envelope Corp./St. Louis Fed FRASER)

A truly remarkable infographic detailing the economic history of the United States from 1775 to 1945, including business activity, national income, federal debt, and asset prices. [Link; 3 page PDF]

World Cup

There Be Ice Dragons Here by Aron Gunnarsson (The Players Tribune)

An explanation of the remarkable success of the tiny North Atlantic island’s success on the world stage from one of their midfielders. [Link]

What’s That Magic Spray? by Daniel Engber (Slate)

While dated, this is a helpful explanation of the spray used by training staffs when soccer players go down with a variety of different injuries during the World Cup. [Link]

I’ve Got Some Things to Say by Romelu Lukaku (The Players Tribune)

A remarkable essay about struggles against poverty, racism, and the transformative value of sport for the young man that is leading Belgium through the group stage of the World Cup. [Link]


Brexit – Risk Assessment (Airbus)

Amidst uncertainty surrounding the departure of the UK from the EU, the firm which conducts the most aerospace activity in the country is limiting investment and supplier involvement within the UK. [Link; 2 page PDF]


Day trader sues broker over ‘demo’ trading platform mix-up by Martin Arnold (FT)

A day trader was accidentally able to place billions in futures orders in what he thought was a demo version of an online brokerage platform. He’s now suing to recover profits that were seized by the firm. [Link; paywall]


Luxury sneakers: high style and a booming market (AFP)

High-price shoes are nothing new and even extremely pricy sneakers aren’t exactly a first, but the current market for the most exclusive shoes is soaring to new heights. [Link]

Cultural Shifts

Southern Baptists Call Off the Culture War by Jonathan Merritt (The Atlantic)

While Baptists and Evangelicals more broadly are still extremely reliable Republican voters, younger adherents are starting to pressure leadership to move towards more neutral political ground. [Link]

The Positive Death Movement Comes to Life by John Leland (NYT)

A small but growing group of the elderly (with women especially prominent) are working to claim ownership over the process of death. [Link; soft paywall]

Climate Change

Global warming, now brought to you by your local TV weathercaster by James Rainey (NBC)

The leading edge of educating the public about changes in the climate is your local weather forecast, whose opinions have slowly edged away from climate skepticism and towards a more universal acceptance of scientific research on the subject. [Link]


A hacker figured out how to brute force iPhone passcodes by Zack Whittaker (ZDNet)

Using an outside input for the iPhone keyboard instead of manual input can allow a hacker (or government agency) to break an iPhone’s password despite elaborate security protocols and hardware. [Link]

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Have a great Sunday!

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