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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Hedge funds braced for further stock market turmoil by Laurence Fletcher (FT)
Amidst high volatility and falling prices, fast leveraged money is slashing its exposure to the equity market, with the lowest net exposure since at least 2010 amidst reduced bets on higher stock prices. [Link; soft paywall]
Pension Funds Plunge Into Riskier Bets—Just as Markets Are Struggling by Dion Rabouin and Heather Gillers (WSJ)
Pension funds are starting to lever their portfolios in order to hit return targets that may prove unrealistic, just in time for a historic collapse in asset prices to hit in 2022. [Link; paywall]
Inside SpinLaunch, the Space Industry’s Best Kept Secret by Daniel Oberhaus (Wired)
A new company is testing a frankly wild launch system: spinning a small payload on a centrifuge in a vacuum before releasing it in a massive parabolic arc that lofts the craft near to orbit. [Link; soft paywall]
‘No Aliens, No Spaceships, No Invasion of Earth’: An oral history of Contact, the sci-fi movie that defied Hollywood norms and made it big anyway. by Rachel Handler (NYMag)
A recollection of the unique vision that one of the largest-scale sci-fi movies ever attempted brought to Hollywood, and why it remains a breath of creative fresh air. [Link]
Thwack. Pop. Whack. Pickleball Noises Turn Neighbors Into Activists. by James Fanelli (WSJ)
Low-impact paddle ball sport pickleball may be easy on the knees and frankly quite a bit of fun, but it’s creating a major conflict for residents near courts: the perforated balls and wooden paddles make for low-speed volleys but make a huge and very annoying amount of noise. [Link]
Manny, Pedro and Papi’s kids are on the same team?! Meet ‘The Sons’ of the Brockton Rox by Joon Lee (ESPN)
The sons of some of Major League Baseball’s best players are sharing uniforms in a murderer’s row of genetic diamond talent about an hour from Fenway Park. [Link]
For the First Time, US Is Sending More Gas to Europe Than Russia by Anna Shiryaevskaya (Bloomberg)
Huge flows of liquid natural gas from the US to Europe amidst the fall-out of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have led the United States to supplant Russia as the biggest source of natural gas for the continent. [Link; soft paywall]
The Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling Is Going to Be Very, Very Expensive by Robinson Meyer (The Atlantic)
Analysis of the SCOTUS ruling, which taken at face value means that preserved EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions could be much more expensive for industry than what the agency had sought to do. [Link; soft paywall]
Apple eyes fuel purchases from dashboard as it revs up car software by Stephen Nellis (Reuters)
Updates to Apple’s CarPlay software suite could mean consumers buy their gas through an app before they ever reach a gas station rather than paying at the pump. [Link; auto-playing video]
Uber, Lyft Drivers Switch to Teslas as High Gas Prices Squeeze Profit by Jackie Davalos (Bloomberg)
With fuel prices still near record levels, operating costs of relatively up-scale electric vehicles are so much lower than traditional ICE cars that they more than justify the upfront cost almost immediately. [Link; soft paywall]
Japanese Man Lost a USB Drive With Entire City’s Personal Data After a Night Out by Hanako Montgomery (Vice)
The personal data of 465,177 residents of Amagasaki, Japan has been stolen after a contractor put the data on the flash drive then got so drunk he fell asleep on the street. [Link]
TikTok Turns On the Money Machine by Zheping Huang (Yahoo!/Bloomberg)
Revenues at algorithmic video short network TikTok are exploding with top line likely to exceed Twitter (TWTR) and Snap (SNAP) combined by the end of the year. [Link]
The Impact of School Facility Investments on Students and Homeowners: Evidence from Los Angeles by Julien Lafortune and David Schönholzer (American Economic Journal: Applied Economics)
Construction of school facilities in Los Angeles over the last few decades generated $1.62 for every $1 spent, with about a quarter of the benefit coming from higher test scores and the rest from other amenities. [Link]
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Have a great weekend!