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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Physical Performance

Unlocking the mystery of superhuman strength by Scott Eden (ESPN)

An investigation of the extreme increases in physical performance human beings are capable of when adrenaline and survival instincts converge during life-or-death situations. [Link]

‘These kids are ticking time bombs’: The threat of youth basketball by Baxter Holmes (ESPN)

Extreme specialization, high workout loads, and little downtime are breaking young bodies before they can perform at an elite level in the NBA. [Link; auto-playing video]

Weird Sports

Redskins’ Norman runs with bulls in Pamplona (ESPN)

Seeing an NFL cornerback leap over a bull is worth the price of admission. Norman is a regular visitor to Pamplona in the offseason, wowing Spanish crowds with his athleticism. [Link; auto-playing video]

The AHL App Melted Down And Demanded $6,000 From A Guy Named Stewart by Laren Theisen (Deadspin)

An all-timer app blow up led to a series of totally ridiculous notifications sent to AHL fans via the hockey league’s app. [Link]


Fund Blowups Rekindle Doubts About ETF Liquidity in Crisis Times by Rachel Evans and Emily Barrett (Bloomberg)

The latest terror to grip markets is the idea that investors who use ETFs as cash substitutes won’t be able to liquidate in a large price shock. [Link; soft paywall]

Sub-Zero Yields Start Taking Hold in Europe’s Junk-Bond Market by Laura Benitez and Tasos Vossos (Bloomberg)

With benchmark rates deep in negative territory, short-term junk debt is trading at negative yields in Europe as it approaches maturity. [Link; soft paywall]

As Stocks Surge to Records, Nervous Investors Buy Bonds, Too by Daniel Kruger (WSJ)

Bond funds have seen massive inflows as individual investors load up on Treasuries and other low risk securities despite an equity market at record highs. [Link; paywall]

Economic Research

Study: The value of data in Canada: Experimental estimates (StatsCan)

A new analysis by Canada’s statistics agency has identified the scale of nonresidential fixed investment in data products. The agency estimates somewhere between 105bn CAD and 150bn CAD in data alone, with billions more invested in databases and data science. [Link]

From Policy Rates to Market Rates—Untangling the U.S. Dollar Funding Market by Gara Afonso, Fabiola Ravazzolo, and Alessandro Zori (NY Fed)

An extremely helpful background brief on the structure and flow of US money markets, complete with an interactive infographic. [Link]

Confederate Streets and Black-White Labor Market Differentials by Jhacova Williams (Google Docs)

A working paper from Clemson University’s Williams uses a novel identification technique to identify racial animus. Areas that honor Confederate Generals with street names have higher labor market inequality between blacks and whites, robust across a number of controlling factors. [Link; 37 page PDF]


Revealed: The Explosive Secret Recording That Shows How Russia Tried To Funnel Millions To The “European Trump” by Alberto Nardelli (BuzzFeed News)

Audio recordings reveal that top officials from Italy’s Lega Nord party met with Russian state actors who proposed a funding scheme that would have violated Italian law. [Link]

Crew of Russian Nuclear Sub Prevented ‘Planetary Catastrophe,’ Officer Says by Henry Meyer and Stepan Kravchenko (Bloomberg)

A fire onboard a Russian submarine nearly created a massive nuclear accident that would have poisoned oceans for generations. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Corporate Finance

Buybacks: An Inside View (Sullimar Investment Group)

A $1bn buyback funded with a revolving credit facility saved Delta (DAL) more in dividend payments than it cost in interest payments. [Link]

This Warby Parker Co-Founder’s Next Startup Set Out to Beat a Razor Giant. 6 Years Later, He Sold Harry’s for $1.3 Billion by Tom Foster (Inc.)

Jeff Raider is a co-founder of iconic eyeglass brand Warby Parker as well as the massively successful razor company Harry’s, which was bought out by Schick’s parent company for $1.4bn. [Link; auto-playing video]

Walmart Got a $10 Billion Surprise After Buying Flipkart by Saritha Rai (Bloomberg)

Wal-Mart bought control of India’s leading e-commerce player last year, including an interest in a payments subsidiary which could lead to a $10bn windfall for the American retailer. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Long Reads

The Young And The Reckless by Brenden Koerenr (Wired)

An incredible story about a Canadian teenager who ran a business selling level ups on Xbox games that eventually spiraled completely out of control. [Link; soft paywall]

Irony, Thy Name Is Gravy

Boston Market No Longer Has A Boston Location by Cameron Spearance (BisNow)

With 10% of the chain’s locations closing, there are now zero Boston Market locations inside the city of Boston. [Link]

Labor Markets

Amazon’s Latest Experiment: Retraining Its Work Force by Ben Casselman and Adam Satariano (NYT)

The e-commerce giant needs a more intensively trained workforce to operate higher value-add roles, so it’s investing $700mm in re-training a third of its workforce to raise productivity. [Link]


Understanding the Burr-Hamilton Duel by Joanne B. Freeman (Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History)

On the 215th anniversary of the most pivotal duel in American history, take some time to get reacquainted with the killing that altered American history. [Link]

The Story of Humans and Neanderthals in Europe Is Being Rewritten by Ed Yong (The Atlantic)

A homo sapiens skull found in a Greek cave is the oldest one discovered outside of Africa, casting doubt on longstanding theories about the spread of our species from its original home. [Link]


It Looks Like a Lake Made for Instagram. It’s a Dump for Chemical Waste. by Andrew E. Kramer (NYT)

A brilliant blue lake in Siberia has become a magnet for Russian social media influencers, but its striking color is actually caused by pollution from a nearby power plant; if this isn’t a perfect metaphor for influencer culture, we’re not sure what is. [Link; soft paywall]

What Do People In Solitary Confinement Want To See? by Doreen St. Félix (The NYer)

There is almost nothing more psychologically painful than being cut off from all human contact, as prisoners in solitary confinement are. A new project seeks to connect them with pictures, letting them connect with a world beyond their confinement. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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