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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Institutional Investors

Virginia pension fund invests in crypto lending in bid to boost returns

A county pension fund is trying its hand at crypto yield farming despite high profile catastrophes in the space over the past six months, operating under an impressively self-assured “blood in the streets” thesis. [Link; paywall]

SoftBank Emerges as a Big Loser of the Tech Downturn. Again. by Eliot Brown (WSJ)

It won’t surprise anyone that the investor who was mad position sizes were far too small as market surged ended up one of the biggest bagholders in the subsequent market crash and bear market. [Link; paywall]

‘Real” Estate

The Metaverse Real Estate Boom Turns Into a Bust by Aidan Ryan (The Information)

The surge in prices for property positioned in the metaverse that came as the strange concept rolled out has led to a massive bust amidst collapsing prices for everything from crypto to tech to semiconductors. [Link; payroll]

What Remote Work Debate? They’ve Been Back at the Office for a While. by Emma Goldberg (NYT)

After more uniform work-from-home policies during the pandemic, smaller cities have retreated to the office at full speed while larger metros debate the pros and cons of remote work. [Link; soft paywall]

Energy Prices

Oh, poor thing: Yacht owners moan they’re getting hit by stubbornly high diesel prices by Lydia Moynihan (NYP)

Yachts are famous gas guzzlers, swallowing vast quantities of diesel every time they leave the dock. Large yachts around 70 feet can burn over 100 gallons per hour just idling their engines. [Link]

Europe’s energy crisis: Controversy as Spain bans air conditioning from dropping below 27°C by Laura Llach (Euronews)

Even air conditioned buildings in the stifling heat of Spain offer less relief than normal thanks to EU-wide efforts to reduce natural gas consumption amidst a crunch in Russian supplies. [Link]

Natural Gas Surges With US LNG Export Terminal Set for Fast Restart by Gerson Freitas Jr, Sergio Chapa, and Diana Li (Bloomberg)

The US LNG terminal that suddenly shut down this summer and took billions of cubic feet of export capacity with it will reopen substantially sooner than estimated, ramping up output as soon as this October. [Link; soft paywall]

Power Companies Enter Peak Hurricane Season Lacking Enough Transformers by Jennifer Hiller and Katherine Blunt (WSJ)

Hurricane season regularly knocks out hundreds or thousands of electricity transformers across the country. But supply chain problems and booming demand for electrical equipment mean an under-inventoried utility network as the storms approach. [Link; paywall]


Kids Are Back in Classrooms and Laptops Are Still Spying on Them by Pia Ceres (Wired)

Student monitoring software is a widespread feature of remote learning, with some terrifying side effects that spyware reading student texts on devices that have nothing to do with school work. [Link; soft paywall]


The most pro-business Supreme Court ever by Felix Salmon (Axios)

More than 80% of the decisions that the US Supreme Court made during 2020 came down on the side of business, the most of any year since at least 1921 per a new paper. [Link]

When Pigs Either Die or Fly

Scientists Revive Cells in Pigs’ Organs After Death by Amy Dockser Marcus (WSJ)

A paper published this week established cell function an hour after death in some pig organs, a possible lesson for safely harvesting human organs from donors in the future. [Link; paywall]

Air traffic controllers say co-pilot ‘jumped’ from plane (AP/MSN)

In North Carolina, a cargo plane with damaged landing gear made an emergency landing but not before the co-pilot jumped from the aircraft; he did not survive the fall into a suburban backyard. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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