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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Power Plants

This wildly reinvented wind turbine generates five times more energy than its competitors by Elissaveta M. Brandon (Fast Company)

A Norwegian start-up is experimenting with a modular design for wind turbines that would replace a single very large blade system with a large grid of much smaller units. [Link]

New Orleans Built a Power Plant to Prepare for Storms. It Sat Dark for 2 Days. by Sophie Kasakove and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs (NYT)

One knock on renewables is that decarbonized forms of power can sometimes be less reliable than coal or natural gas plants. But in the wake of Ida, a backup power plant New Orleans built to insure reliability wasn’t able to help the power-starved city. [Link; soft paywall]


College-Town Economy Hopes for a Boost, if Delta Variant Can Be Held at Bay by Amara Omeokwe (WSJ)

Small towns across the country that rely on students arriving for school every fall are geared back up for a more normal school year, but Delta variant cases may dash the hopes of small and large businesses that cater to undergrads across the country. [Link; paywall]

A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’ by Douglas Belkin (WSJ)

Women now outnumber men in college 3:2, with the decline in students over the last several years mostly driven by fewer men taking classes. Given the persistence of the college wage premium and the historically higher attendance rates for men, this major shift is likely underappreciated as shift in the social fabric of the country. [Link; paywall]


BioNTech reports promising data on mRNA cocktail in mouse models of colon cancer and melanoma by Arlene Weintraub (Fierce Biotech)

Pfizer’s partner for its mRNA COVID vaccine has partnered with Sanofi to deliver mRNA therapies which stimulate carcinogenic factors that are already produced by the human body using an identical delivery package to the one that tricks cells into manufacturing spike proteins and getting a leg up on the coronavirus. [Link]

Job Postings Requiring Vaccination Soar by Ann Elizabeth Konkel (Indeed)

While the number of job postings on Indeed that require vaccination against COVID remains relatively low overall, they’re growing very quickly and have accelerated since full FDA approval of the vaccine. [Link]

Windshield Wipers

Tesla obtains patent on its wild idea to use lasers as windshield wipers by Fred Lambert (electrek)

Patents are of course a long way away from a production feature (even at feature first, perfection later Tesla) but there’s at least some possibility that the most popular electric car company will start using lasers to clean off windshields. [Link]


How TikTok Servers Up Sex and Drug Videos to Minors by Rob Barry, Georgia Wells, John West, Joanna Stern and Jason French (WSJ)

Using bot accounts, the WSJ team explored how accounts representing themselves as minors are exposed to adult content by the powerful algorithms which use past interests to dictate what future content gets displayed. [Link; paywall]

Epic v. Apple ruling: Judge finds Apple has to let developers offer third-party payments by Alexis Keenan and Daniel Howley (Yahoo!)

A California judge sided with Fortnite developer Epic Games in a Friday ruling that leveled an injunction against App Store policies which prevent software developers from collecting payments through their apps without giving Apple a cut. [Link; auto-playing video]


Bitcoin to Bucks: Crypto Fans Borrow to Buy Homes, Cars—and More Crypto by Rachel Louise Ensign (WSJ)

With more than $2trn in total crypto market cap, holders are starting to use their currencies as collateral for loans of US dollars, which are being used to buy houses, homes, and all manner of other things that are easy to trade for dollars but not so easy to get with crypto. [Link; paywall]


Fans Don’t See Much of a Difference Among NFL’s Broadcast Partners, Top Talent by Alex Silverman (Morning Consult)

Fans are generally pretty happy with the NFL broadcast teams offered by the major networks, with NBC, CBS, and Fox all about equally popular; ESPN is slightly behind but still viewed favorably by 65% of NFL fans. [Link]


With Drawl by Laura Relyea (Bitter Southerner)

While often viewed with derision by linguistic philistines, Southern twangs and drawls are accent heaven for those who study how language twists and bends (or holds firm) with the passage of time. NC State professor Walt Wolfram is leading the charge to keep Southern accents alive. [Link]


Senior Democrats propose 2% US tax on stock buybacks by James Politi (FT)

Eager to bring on board members of the caucus that are concerned about deficit implications of the Democrats’ $3.5trn proposed budget, Senate Democrats are considering levying a 2% fee on corporate share buybacks as a way to generate revenue. [Link; paywall]

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