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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We’ve Seen This Movie Before
Scientists are searching for a mirror universe. It could be sitting right in front of you. by Corey S. Powell (NBC)
Scientists in Tennessee are searching for an alternate, mirror universe using the behavior of subatomic particles to prove their theories. Don’t expect any gateways to open up any time soon, though. [Link]
Scientists Are Giving Dead Brains New Life. What Could Go Wrong? by Matthew Shaer (NYT)
Neuroscientists are experimenting with keeping brains alive long after their meaty vessels stop functioning, which doesn’t sound at all like the start of a zombie flick. [Link; soft paywall]
Aggressive Goats Addicted to Human Urine Airlifted Out of Olympic National Park, WA (SnowBrains)
Many animals have a taste for salt, but goats in Olympic National Park have acquired such a taste for the salt and minerals in human urine that they became a threat to hikers and by extension themselves. [Link]
Poachers Are Invading Botswana, Last Refuge of African Elephants by Rachel Nuwer (NYT)
Botswana offers strong legal protections against poachers, but elephants are increasingly threatened even there, with poachers crossing a border that has traditionally offered protection to the massive mammals. [Link; soft paywall]
Vintage EPA photos reveal what US waterways looked like before pollution was regulated by Aylin Woodward (Business Insider)
A reminder of what natural environments used to be like before the EPA, featuring fetid water, trash dumped into rivers, and burning oil slicks. [Link]
Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis by Damian Carrington (The Guardian)
While there are plenty of stories doom related to global warming, some of the solutions appear to be remarkably straightforward, including a program of simple reforestation and tree planting; that activity has room to remove two-thirds of emissions released by human activity if conducted at a large enough scale. [Link]
Facebook, YouTube Overrun With Bogus Cancer-Treatment Claims by Daniela Hernandez and Robert McMillan (WSJ)
Part of the ongoing mess that is social media: deceptive and false information about health treatments which can lead to literal death if taken too seriously. [Link; paywall]
For Better And Worse, We Live In Jony Ive’s World by Nikil Saval (The New Yorker)
A retrospective on the contributions of Apple’s head of design, someone who has had an almost immeasurable mark on the way the devices we use every day function and feel. [Link; soft paywall]
Consumers’ and Economists’ Differing Inflation Views Can Complicate Policymaking by Tyler Atkinson (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)
An analysis of consumer expectations shows that while economists tend to see inflation and unemployment as negatively correlated, consumers who are optimistic about the economy expect lower inflation and vice-versa. That presents a major challenge for policymakers, who aim to manage consumer inflation via economic slack. [Link]
US breaks record for longest economic expansion by Sylvan Lane (The Hill)
While it’s at least hypothetically possible that a US recession will be declared to have started this summer (we are near-certain that won’t be the case), as-of now the lack of a recession through June means the US now has a new record for the length of an economic expansion. [Link; auto-playing video]
“Bodies and minds are breaking down”: Inside US border agency’s suicide crisis by Justin Rohrlich and Zoë Schlanger (Quartz)
Enforcing deterrence policies related to both unauthorized migration and legal asylum seekers is starting to place an enormous toll on CPB officers, with efforts to recruit new hires to the agency falling flat and existing personnel being worked into the ground. [Link; soft paywall]
To Evade Sanctions on Iran, Ships Vanish in Plain Sight by Michael Forsythe and Ronen Bergman (NYT)
Chinese ships are evading sanctions placed on Iran by the United States by turning off transponders when they are nearing the Strait of Hormuz. [Link; soft paywall]
As Stocks Hover Near Records, Growth Worries Linger by Akane Otani (WSJ)
With the economic expansion hitting a record length his month and stocks at all-time highs, investors continue to struggle with the outlook. [Link; paywall]
80% of the stock market is now on autopilot by Yun Li (CNBC)
We are extremely skeptical that JPM claims showing 80% of the market is invested in either passive strategies or quantitative funds. Per the Fed’s Z.1 report, domestic equity ETFs hold $2.2trn in domestic equity assets and mutual funds hold $7.7trn in equity assets, versus $17.5trn in direct household and nonprofit equity exposure that includes ETFs with another $8.8trn in total mutual fund exposure, making the outstanding ETF and mutual fund numbers far too small. That said, the market is increasingly trading on passive factors. [Link]
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Have a great weekend!