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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‘It is time to stop vaping’: Kansas reports sixth U.S. death linked to mystery illness by Matthew Lavietes (Reuters)

Low quality vape equipment and ingredients, especially tied to THC, are being linked with sudden deaths around the country. [Link]

Vape Store Owners Are Freaking Out About Trump’s Ban by Francisco Alvarado (Vice)

Rising vape use among youth has gotten the attention of the White House, and the ban proposed this week in response has Florida vape shop owners incensed. [Link]


Saudi Arabia Shuts Down About Half Its Oil Output After Drone Strikes by Summer Said and Jared Malsin (WSJ)

Drones used by Yemeni Houthi rebels set off a series of explosions which shuttered half of Saudi oil output over the weekend. Officials hope to have the capacity mostly restored by Monday. [Link; paywall]

The Growing Market for Clean Energy Portfolios & Prospects for Gas Pipelines in the Era of Clean Energy by Charles Teplin, Mark Dyson, Alex Engel, and Grant Glazer (Rocky Mountain Institute)

New research suggests clean energy portfolios that combine various renewables with battery storage are approaching cost parity with new construction natural gas plants, and will be cheaper to build than operating gas plants by 2035. [Link]

Weird News

Google Maps shows sunken car where missing man’s body was found (BBC)

A happenstance search led to a wild find: a car that was the watery tomb of a Florida man who has been missing since 1997. [Link]

Tough-guy jaywalker glares at driver, gets instant karma by Lauren Steussy (New York Post)

Jaywalking isn’t the end of the world but holding up traffic while staring down a driver is the sort of thing that cries out for swift adjustment by the fates of fortune. [Link; auto-playing video]

Real Estate

Millennials, priced out of homes locally, shop for investment properties online by Patrick Sisson (Curbed)

Priced out of home markets, investors can access the housing market in the rest of the country via online marketplaces which make buying and selling property a breeze. [Link]

The affordable housing crisis, explained by Patrick Sisson, Jeff Andrews, and Alex Bazeley (Curbed)

Inadequate construction, rising labor and materials costs, subsidies from the government that favor homeowners, slower turnover in the housing market, and more contribute to a massive challenge for home renters. [Link]

Labor Markets

Carl Icahn moving hedge fund to Miami, whether his workers like it or not by Josh Kosman (New York Post)

Icahn Enterprises is fleeing New York, and employees that don’t want to join on the trip to Florida will be out of a job with no severance per internal memos. [Link]

UPS to hire 100,000 workers this holiday season and pay $14 to $30 an hour by Adam Shapiro (Yahoo!)

Large seasonal hiring at the package carrier this year is in-line with past years, with wages running at a robust pace as well. [Link]

Seafood Fixing

StarKist Hit With $100 Million Fine in Tuna Price-Fixing Case by Micah Maidenberg (WSJ)

After Chicken of the Sea let the government know about price fixing in canned tuna, it avoided prosecution, but Bumble Bee’s $25mm fine in 2017 pales in comparison to what the DoJ wrung out of StarKist this week. [Link; paywall]

Modern Living

The Dangers of Love in the Age of Dating Apps by Akiva Thalheim (Washington Square News)

As young people have opted in to dating apps, they’ve joined a world that is designed to be addictive and dehumanizing, an interesting parallel to the trajectory of social media sites. [Link]


The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York’s Hottest Tourist Attraction by Steve Kandell (BuzzFeed)

An essay reflecting on the evolution of how we treat 9/11, 18 years after the tragedy. Detachment, tchotchkes, and tourist intrusions on the most personal of events. [Link]


Billion Dollar Fantasy: Inside the War Between FanDuel and DraftKings that Rocked the Gambling Industry by Albert Chen (Sports Illustrated)

An excerpt of a pending book that peels back the history of the FanDuel-Draft Kings weekly fantasy battle which eventually led to FBI and DoJ investigations. [Link; auto-playing video]

Old Asteroids

Scientists Discover New Evidence of the Asteroid That Killed Off the Dinosaurs by Robert Lee Hotz (WSJ)

Drilling on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico has provided new evidence of the asteroid 100-mile wide crater, 12 miles deep. [Link; paywall]


JPMorgan Creates ‘Volfefe’ Index to Track Trump Tweet Impact by Tracy Alloway (Bloomberg)

An exhaustive analysis of the President’s tweets has showed a rising likelihood of having a market-moving impact in recent months. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Old Is New

Vinyl set to outsell CDs for first time since 1986 by Will Richards (NME)

33 years ago, CD sales volumes rose above those of vinyl – already in decline thanks to 8-tracks and cassettes – but thanks to MP3s and audiophiles, that’s now reversed. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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