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.

Social Media

Twitter says bug may have exposed some direct messages to third-party developers by Zack Whittaker (TechCrunch)

A bug in Twitter’s back end may have let third-party developers read and store private direct messages between users. [Link]

Facebook Security Breach Exposes Accounts of 50 Million Users by Mike Isaac and Sheera Frankel (NYT)

In another huge breach of security for a social media network, Facebook announced a breach this week that had exposed full account control of more than 50 million users; what’s worse, that access could have spread across other connected applications as well. [Link; soft paywall]

New Studies

How universal free preschool in DC helped bring moms back to work by Bryce Covert (Vox)

By offering a guaranteed placement for all children in preschool, without costs to parents, Washington, DC was able to generate an extremely substantial increase in labor force participation. [Link]

World War II and African American Socioeconomic Progress by Andreas Ferrara (University of Warwick Working Paper Series)

The last period of significant socioeconomic progress and upward mobility for black Americans was during the middle of the last century. This paper argues that progress was a function of tight labor markets and labor shortages, rather than some sort of shift in the moral fiber of the nation as it marched towards desegregation. [Link; 96 page PDF]

A Hedge Fund Manager Who Drives a Ferrari Will Probably Underperform by Amy Whyte (Institutional Investor)

Using public vehicle records, the authors match hedge fund managers to their wheels and find that sports car drivers tend to underperform peers who make more staid vehicular choices. [Link]

Country-level social cost of carbon by Katharine Ricke, Laurent Drouet, Ken Caldeira and Massimo Tavoni (Nature)

While carbon emissions have a global impact and therefore a general level of social cost for the whole world, this paper gets a bit more detailed and argues the distribution of those costs are not equal across countries. [Link]

Dark Money

How Dirty Money Disappears Into the Black Hole of Cryptocurrency by Justin Scheck and Shane Shifflet (WSJ)

An in-depth investigation of how cryptocurrencies help launder proceeds from credit card fraud and Ponzi schemes around the world. [Link; paywall]

2 Investigators: Fans Scammed Out Of Millions Of Dollars By Fake Celebrity Accounts by Pam Sekman (CBS Chicago)

A local news network in Chicago reveals the story of people convinced to send thousands of dollars to Dubai or other strange locales, duped by fake accounts purporting to be real-life celebrities. [Link]


Instagram has a drug problem. Its algorithms make it worse. by Elizabeth Dwoskin (WaPo)

While Instagram is better known for its totally legal influencer culture (across fitness, travel, food, interior design, and a litany of other topics), it’s also a booming advertising venue for illegal drugs. [Link; soft paywall]

On Ecstasy, Octopuses Reached Out for a Hug by JoAnna Klein (NYT)

We’re curious what the proposal to feed an octopus MDMA looked like, but that aside a recent study used doses of the drug to show how similar the strange animals are to humans. [Link; soft paywall]

Autonomous Vehicles

Baidu just made its 100th autonomous bus ahead of commercial launch in China by Kirsten Korosec (TechCrunch)

While this story is somewhat out of date, it does help illustrate progress being made by tech companies in China; in this case, on level 4 (capable of taking over driving in certain conditions) mini-buses. [Link]

The Amazin’s

Gary Keith and Ron, the Magi of Mets Nation by Devin Gordon (NYT Mag)

The antics of Mets broadcasters is helping keep interest in the once-again lowly Mets alive late in a season that saw the squad knocked out of playoff contention months ago. [Link; soft paywall]


The Economist at 175 (The Economist)

10,000+ words on the classic liberal perspective (note: “liberal” in this case is not synonymous with “left wing” as is often the common use in the United States) of The Economist, 175 years after the magazine was launched and in the midst of a global discussion about the fruits of an approach which elevates freedom over pre-modern approaches to political organization. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great Sunday!

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