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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Elections

What if Facebook Is the Real ‘Silent Majority’? by Kevin Roose (NYT)

Political polling and betting markets show a pretty clear advantage for former Vice President Joe Biden in November, but Facebook is the heartland for conservative enthusiasm around Donald Trump. [Link; soft paywall]

U.S. Election Priced as Worst Event Risk in VIX Futures History by Michael P. Regan (Bloomberg)

The VIX futures curve is badly kinked around October’s contract, which is tied to options covering the period of the US election. [Link; soft paywall]

Exclusive: Dem group warns of apparent Trump Election Day landslide by Margaret Talev (Axios)

Leaving the slightly hyperbolic headline aside, there is a very real possibility that mail-in/absentee voting creates big differences between in-person results and the actual vote totals come election day. [Link]

Trump’s popularity slips in latest Military Times poll — and more troops say they’ll vote for Biden by Leo Shane III (Military Times)

In 2016, Military Times polling showed a 46-37 positive favorability for the President, but today that has more than flipped with a 50-38 unfavorable tilt among uniformed service members; respondents report they plan to vote 41-37 for Biden versus 41-21 advantage for President Trump in October 2016. [Link]

Generation Generalities

When It Comes to Gen Z’s Brand Preferences, the Most Important Influencers Are Their Parents by Alyssa Meyers (Morning Consult)

A recent poll shows that the youngest group of Americans are the most likely to take cues on preferred brands across a range of products from their parents. [Link]

It’s time to dispel the biggest myth about millennials by Myles Udland (Business Insider)

An oldie but a goodie from Myles Udland (now at Yahoo! Finance) arguing that Millennials’ preferences were not some sort of landmark departure from the prior American way of life but in fact just the same old story. [Link]

Dystopia

Targeted by Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi (Tampa Bay Times)

A detailed investigation of the Pasco County, Florida approach to crime prevention which involved invasive intelligence gathering, aggressive harassment of citizens picked out on an ad hoc basis, and general disregard for civil rights that created more crime than it prevented. [Link]

Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work by Spencer Soper (Bloomberg)

Drivers are competing to get orders from Whole Foods’ delivery service by hanging phones in trees near the distribution center which then pass on requests to their devices. [Link; soft paywall]

Learning At Home

Mom’s Hilarious Video Sums Up How Confusing This School Year Is For Everyone by Carolina Bologna (Huffpost)

Faced with massive frustration over the patchwork backdrop of remote and in-person learning, a mom parodied the painful experience of learning online. [Link]

Parents on TikTok mock people with disabilities for the ‘New Teacher Challenge.’ These women are reclaiming their images by Scottie Andrew and Kat Jennings (CNN)

A social media trend that sets up disabled people as the boogeyman and teaches their children to fear those same disabled people is a painful example of how what may seem innocuous fun can be deeply hurtful. [Link]

Hot Back-to-School Items During Coronavirus Are Tents, Webcams by Austen Hufford (WSJ)

Protective products, keyboards, webcams, and tents are all in huge demand as schools struggle to prevent the return of students from creating COVID hotspots. [Link; paywall]

Whales

SoftBank unmasked as ‘Nasdaq whale’ that stoked tech rally by Kana Inagaki, Katie Martin, Robert Smith and Robin Wigglesworth (FT)

In addition to buying the underlying stocks, SoftBank has reportedly bid up the call options of many of its US tech investments in an effort to push up investments even faster; that behavior may explain some of the massive tech rally we’ve seen in recent months. [Link; paywall]

Buffett’s 1977 Letter Hints at Why He Likes Japan Trading Houses by Stephen Stapczynski (Bloomberg)

Recent Berkshire Hathaway purchases in five Japanese conglomerates are in large part explained by his long-term focus on understandable, long-term, and competently run operations which are not extremely expensive. [Link; soft paywall]

Moving

New Yorkers Flee for Florida and Texas as Mobility Surges by Steve Matthews and Alexandre Tanzi (Bloomberg)

While mobility across state lines has sagged in recent years, 2020 is seeing a surge in movement from New York and New Jersey to warmer climates like Florida, Texas, and the rest of the Sunbelt. [Link; soft paywall]

Pandemic Purchases

In a Pandemic, Boats Are No Longer a Bad Investment by Alex Lauer (Inside Hook)

Loaded with operating costs and depreciation, boats have long been viewed as a great way to do away with large quantities of cash. But new and used boat sales have exploded during the pandemic as people look for ways to be outdoors and have some fun without getting on a plane or staying in a hotel. [Link]

Who Profits From Amateurism? Rent-Sharing in Modern College Sports by Craig Garthwaite, Jordan Keener, Matthew J. Notowidigdo, and Nicole F. Ozminkowski (NBER)

New research suggests that college sports effectively transfers resources away from black and lower income students and towards students who are white and higher income. This will not surprise many who have spent time close to college athletics departments. [Link]

Amazon Air

Amazon wins FAA approval for Prime Air drone delivery fleet by Annie Palmer (CNBC)

Drone delivery is now permitted to move forward for Amazon, who joins UPS and Google gaining approval for its automated airborne delivery fleet. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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