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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COVID Research

Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 Infections, Including COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections, Associated with Large Public Gatherings — Barnstable County, Massachusetts, July 2021 by Brown et al (CDC)

A detailed investigation of how the Delta variant acts on vaccinated persons; the data suggest that vaccinated people still face a significant risk of contracting the virus and material risk of symptomatic infection with the same viral load as unvaccinated persons, but existing vaccines do an excellent job protecting against both hospitalization and death. [Link]

Comparison of Neutralizing Antibody Titers Elicited by mRNA and Adenoviral Vector Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 Variants by Tada et al (Bioxriv)

Lab-based experiments show that antibodies from mRNA vaccines are slightly less effective against Delta while adenovirus-vector Johnson & Johnson jabs are much less effective, basically consistent with the findings of the above CDC study. [Link; 30 page PDF]


Athletes Greatly Benefit from Participation in Sports at the College and Secondary Level by James J. Heckman & Colleen P. Loughlin (NBER)

This study catalogues average student benefits from participation in college athletics, where participants tend to enjoy higher graduation rates, better jobs after college, and higher earnings. The authors do not compare foregone earnings for high-potential athletes to identify opportunity costs. [Link]

Barstool Sports Taking Over AZ Bowl From CBS to Broadcast Online by Emily Caron (Yahoo!)

Irreverent sports media company Barstool will broadcast a college football bowl game on its platforms next season, part of a broader diversification of the multi-faceted business. [Link]


Time For The End Of The Teen Gymnast by Dvora Meyers (538)

An indictment of the post-1960s practice of launching young people (especially young girls) into extremely high intensity athletics via gymnastics competitions. Note: this article was published the day Simone Biles withdrew from Tokyo, but is not a response to that specific situation. [Link]

Team USA Trails in the Other Tokyo Olympics Medal Table: Vaccinated Athletes by Rachel Bachman and Georgi Kantchev (WSJ)

While delegations from Italy and Spain have been entirely vaccinated, the US looks more like Poland with almost 15% of athletes not inoculated against COVID before arriving in Tokyo. [Link; paywall]

Tokyo 2020: S Korea TV sorry for using pizza to depict Italy (BBC)

A South Korean broadcaster is in hot water for depicting Italy with pizza, Romania with Dracula, and perhaps most depressingly Ukraine with Chernobyl in its introductions to the Tokyo Olympics. [Link]


Slice of Charles and Diana’s 40-year-old wedding cake to be auctioned (BBC)

A slice of wedding cake given to a member of the Queen Mother’s household back in 1981 has been preserved since and will be sold at auction, for reasons that escape us. [Link]

Sun, Sand, and Spaghetti by Mike Diago (Eater)

An investigation of the niche but fascinating question “why do Dominican-Americans bring spaghetti to the beach?”, filled with history on the Dominican diaspora, food culture, and the appeal of noodles in the hot sun. [Link]


Small Cities Can’t Manage the High Cost of Old Infrastructure by Jake Blumgart (Governing)

Cities with more limited tax bases that want to make changes to infrastructure either due to cost of maintenance or shifts in their populations’ needs are in deep trouble as tax bases erode and costs rise. [Link]

Police Are Telling ShotSpotter to Alter Evidence From Gunshot-Detecting AI by Todd Feathers (Vice)

Audio tools that locate the sound of gunfire via algorithm can be overridden to provide different evidence when it suits prosecutors per recent filings in murder cases from Chicago. [Link]


Credit Suisse Claws Back Pay as It Faults Staff for Archegos by Marion Halftermeyer (Bloomberg)

Former execs lost $70mm in compensation and 9 were fired as a result of the $5.5bn in losses booked by the bank over the Archegos blow-up earlier this year. [Link; soft paywall]


America’s Investing Boom Goes Far Beyond Reddit Bros by Talmon Joseph Smith (The Atlantic)

A survey of the broader world of novice investors that extend beyond the most high-profile communities like r/wallstreetbets. [Link; soft paywall]


Earnings and Income Penalties for Motherhood: Estimates for British Women Using the Individual Synthetic Control Method by Giacomo Vagni and Richard Breen (European Sociological Review)

British mothers see medium and long term earnings reduced by about 45% when they have children, though interestingly on average households that those women are a part of do not suffer from income declines. [Link]

Great Expectations

A Key Gauge of Future Inflation Is Easing by Gwynn Guilford (WSJ)

Consumer surveys and financial markets proxies for future inflation are not showing the same kind of concerns as short-term metrics of realized inflation. [Link; paywall]


What we know about the mystery bird death crisis on the East Coast by Natasha Daly (NatGeo)

Birders across the eastern US have recorded a massive surge in deaths of fledgling songbirds, with the causes a complete mystery. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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