Bespoke Holiday Reading — Our View + Brunch Reads — 12/24/17

Happy Holidays from Bespoke!

On Friday we published our 2018 Annual Outlook report, featuring our view on markets and the economy for the year ahead.  This report is the most important piece of research we publish all year.  You can read it now with a 14-day free trial to any one of our membership levels using our 2018 Annual Outlook Sign-Up Special.  Along with the 14-day free trial, you’ll get 20% off the normal membership cost for life.  Check out the pricing options and get signed up if you’re ready at this pageRemember, the first 14 days are free, and you can cancel at any time.

Below is this week’s Bespoke Brunch Reads linkfest, featuring some of the most interesting articles we read over the past week:

Politics

Some Change In Apportionment Allocations With New 2017 Census Estimates; But Greater Change Likely By 2020 (Election Data Services)

With updated Census population data released this week, EDS has made new estimates for changes in the number of House representatives in each state, a process which also effects the Electoral College. Final changes won’t be made until data from the 2020 Census is in. [Link; 15 page PDF]

Welcoming the pro-EU far-right by Mehreen Khan (FT)

While Americans may view the EU as a monolithic left-wing entity, the reality is much, much more complicated. This week’s near-literal embrace of the pro-EU right wing in Austria is a good example of the complexity. [Link]

Research

Why so low for so long? A long-term view of real interest rates by Claudio Borio, Piti Disyatat, Mikael Juselius and Phurichai Rungcharoenkitkul (BIS Working Papers)

A new paper for the Bank of International Settlements argues that monetary policy is more responsible for large shifts in real interest rates than demographic or savings and investment based models. [Link; 73 page PDF]

Taxes

How Tax Cuts Affect Revenue by Nick Timiraos and Youjin Shin (WSJ)

A nice recap of the estimated and actual changes to the federal budget based on two past major tax reforms. [Link; paywall]

How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing by Liz Day (ProPublica)

A summary of the role the tax preparation industry plays in keeping your taxes complicated and hard to fill out every spring. [Link]

Failbook

Facebook ditches fake news flag after admitting it was making the problem worse by Margi Murphy (Telegraph)

A program to identify news from untrustworthy sources at Facebook actually reinforced the message of the misinformation to users. [Link]

Dozens of Companies Are Using Facebook to Exclude Older Workers From Job Ads by Julia Angwinn Noam Scheiber, and Ariana Tobin (ProPublica)

Employers have used Facebook’s ad targeting features to present job ads to narrow demographic groups, a possible violation of employment discrimination law. [Link]

Law & Order

Shot By Cops And Forgotten (Vice)

A data intensive summary of police shootings in large police departments across the country. From 2010 to 2016 police shot at more that 4000 people, killing more than 1300. Rates of police shootings relative to population vary dramatically across the country with Newark, St. Louis, and New Orleans standing out on the high side while Fairfax Country, Boston, and New York are relatively low. [Link]

Natural World

The Year From Above by K.K. Rebecca Lai and Tim Wallace (NYT)

A breathtaking lineup of pictures from space including weather, economics, climate, geopolitics, and astronomy. [Link; soft paywall]

What is dead may never die by Jake Parks (Astronomy)

A star has been observed going supernova twice in the past 60 years, in a series of events astronomers had thought were impossible. [Link]

Going Viral

A Federal Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Is Lifted by Donald G. McNeil Jr (NYT)

This week federal officials ended a three year old moratorium on funding research to make viruses more lethal to humans. [Link; soft paywall]

Nosh

The Crunchy Rice at the Bottom of the Pot, How Different Cultures Cook and Eat It (Bon Appetit)

Modern pots and rice cookers have made the crispy, golden rice which used to form at the bottom of pans less common, and that’s a darn shame. [Link]

AI

AI System Detects ‘Deception’ in Courtroom Videos by Michael Byrne (Motherboard)

A new system claims high accuracy at assessing truthfulness, but the pseudo-science surrounding the traditional polygraph doesn’t exactly leave us optimistic. [Link]

Have a great Sunday!  (And don’t forget to read our 2018 outlook report!)

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