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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Biome Stories

‘Murder Hornets’ in the U.S.: The Rush to Stop the Asian Giant Hornet by Mike Baker (NYT)

So-called ‘murder hornets’ get a lot of hype as a threat to humans, but they are a very real threat to already-struggling pollinators like bees, which have suffered massive population loss in recent years and don’t need another competitor. [Link; soft paywall]

How the World’s Largest Garbage Dump Evolved Into a Green Oasis by Robert Sullivan (NYT)

Arthur Kill was the world’s largest garbage dump, but returning the site to nature wasn’t actually that complicated: it was covered up and left for nature to work its magic. The result is a near-paradise after just 20 years of lying fallow. [Link; soft paywall]

Economic Research

Germany is beginning a universal-basic-income trial with people getting $1,400 a month for 3 years by Adam Payne (Business Insider)

120 German volunteers will get a €1,200 monthly payment for three years, with their outcomes studied by social scientists in an effort to assess how the larger population might respond to a more universal policy of the same kind. [Link]

Market Function Purchases by the Federal Reserve by Kenneth D. Garbade and Frank M. Keane (NY Fed Liberty Street Economics)

A history of historical interventions in the US Treasury market by the Federal Reserve, showing that recent purchases to stabilize markets during the COVID shock was unprecedented in size and scope. [Link]

CRE Innovation

WWE Turning Orlando’s Amway Center Into ‘WWE ThunderDome’ for TV Production Going Forward by Just Barrasso (SI)

WWE events are now being held on a semi-permanent basis in Orlando’s Amway Center, which has been upgraded in numerous ways to adapt to the conditions of the COVID pandemic. [Link]

REI looks to sell brand new Seattle-area HQ as pandemic forces retailer to rethink remote work by Taylor Soper (GeekWire)

A brand new Bellevue, WA headquarters for REI is being abandoned thanks to a near-100% work from home policy driven by COVID; specifically, the company says that having a distributed workforce “will have immediate, positive impacts on our ability to attract and retain  a divers and highly skilled workforce”. [Link]

New York Stories

Movers in N.Y.C. Are So Busy They’re Turning People Away by Julie Satow (NYT)

Moving companies report “double the volume of customers – maybe more” this summer thanks to departures from the city for local suburbs, turnover in apartments within the city, and people moving out of the Tristate area entirely. [Link; soft paywall]

What Happened When Homeless Men Moved Into a Liberal Neighborhood by Daniel E. Slotnik (NYT)

COVID’s arrival meant homeless shelters had to reduce capacity, and as a result New York City bid up empty hotel rooms to house people formerly in crowded shelters. But in a deep Democratic stronghold, this modest form of redistribution was met with aggressive and painfully harsh resistance. [Link; soft paywall]

Lost and Found

30-year-old stash of beer and gum found in library’s mystery section by Ben Hooper (UPI)

Stashed in the mystery section of the Walla Walla, WA public library 30 years ago: five cans of beer and a packet of Godzilla Heads gum, untouched for at least three decades. [Link]

‘The mystery is over’: Researchers say they know what happened to ‘Lost Colony’ by Jeff Hampton (The Virginian-Pilot)

The so-called Lost Colony of Roanoke Island likely moved with friendly Croatoan indigenous people, with evidence suggesting that colonists intermarried with their hosts and thrived despite their status as “lost”. [Link]


The 2018 Voting Experience: Polling Place Lines by Matthew Weil, Charles Stewart III, Tim Harper, and Christopher Thomas (Bipartisan Policy Center)

In 2018 voters faced huge increases in vote times, with lower-income and non-white voters facing substantially longer waits in the first election following the removal of Voting Rights Act protections by the Supreme Court. Voters in precincts that were >90% non-white average wait times of 32.4 minutes, more than six times the 5.1 minute average wait time for voters at precincts that are >90% white. [Link]

Kids These Days

Where Has Your Tween Been During the Pandemic? On This Gaming Site by Kellen Browning (NYT)

Roblox is the most popular online world for children stuck at home during the pandemic with a massive windfall to developers that built games as part of the platform. [Link; soft paywall]

Convenience Business

With Seasonal Products Making an Early Return This Year, Consumers Weigh In on Sweet Spot for Promotions by Alyssa Meyers (Morning Consult)

An amusing poll that shows consumers generally prefer companies hold off on seasonal product promotions until the actual season they’re associated with. [Link]

Jimmy Butler’s $20 coffee hustle is the best business in the NBA bubble by James Dator (SBNation)

The NBA bubble created a unique kind of scarcity, and ballhandling entrepreneurs are stepping into the gap. Jimmy Butler is probably the most successful, running an amusingly simple coffee stand out of his room at Disney World. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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