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Bespoke Brunch Reads: 10/28/18

Below is our Bespoke Brunch Reads linkfest, featuring some of our favorite articles (both finance and non-finance related) over the past week.

Given our 11-2 record versus the spread in week 7 (bringing our overall up to 55-40 (61.1%), we’ll start with our Week 8 NFL picks to get your Sunday up and running!  (Note that these are also posted on Think B.I.G. every Saturday before midnight.

Science

Redrawing the Map: How the World’s Climate Zones Are Shifting by Nicola Jones (Yale Environment 360)

A review of shifting boundaries for temperate or fertile regions around the world. Some of the shift is driven by our own impact on the broader climate through fossil fuel emissions and other factors but those aren’t the only reasons that arid regions are expanding. [Link]

Toxin or treatment? by Jennifer Couzin-Frankel (Science)

New treatments for extreme allergies are focused on gradually exposing children to very small amounts of allergen, gradually ramping up doses to build a tolerance and cure their allergy. [Link]

History

Joachim Ronneberg: Norwegian who thwarted Nazi nuclear plan dies (BBC)

In 1943 a daring team of saboteurs orchestrated the most under-appreciated mission of the Second World War, blowing up a key Nazi installation that could have allowed progress on a nuclear bomb. Its last member and a long-time advocate of peace has died. [Link]

Weird News

The Unsolved Murder of An Unusual Billionaire (Boomberg)

A penetrating investigation of the death of one of Canada’s richest men, whose philanthropy and idiosyncrasies drew attention but nothing even approaching the ire that could motivate his murder and that of his wife. [Link; soft paywall]

Disney World’s Big Secret: It’s a Favorite Spot to Scatter Family Ashes by Erich Schwartzel (WSJ)

Roughly once per month, guests scatter the ashes of loved ones somewhere in Walt Disney World or Disneyland, in a combination of touching gesture and extremely weird tie-in of consumerism to last rites. [Link; paywall]

Flops

This Bank Lost 50% Of Its Value And Taught Us All A Lesson We Forgot by The Dividend Guy (Seeking Alpha)

We talked about Bank OZK last week, but this write-up is a nice summary with investing lessons in addition to the specific facts related to portfolio write-downs at the bank. [Link]

Auto dealers see slowing sales, sparking fears that a long-expected decline is here by Phil LeBeau (CNBC)

Auto dealers are reporting slowing traffic and declines in business amidst higher interest rates, though declines in volumes are not uniform by any means. [Link]

Business Models

Apple News’s Radical Approach: Humans Over Machines by Jack Nicas (NYT)

A look at how Apple News aggregates its top stories each day, and an even closer look at Apple News’s business model and its ungodly 30% rake. [Link; soft paywall]

Uber’s Secret Restaurant Empire by Kate Krader (Bloomberg)

Because Uber Eats restaurants don’t need a storefront, they’re creating opportunities for businesses within businesses or other unusual firm arrangements. [Link; soft paywall]

This Thermometer Tells Your Temperature, Then Tells Firms Where to Advertise by Sapna Maheshwari (NYT)

Your thermometer may be feeding the fact that you’re sick to companies that want to sell you bleach, one of the major downsides to internet-connected devices. [Link; soft paywall]

Saving money should be easy. Automate it with Trim. (Trim)

This start up is trying to do the tough work of negotiating with companies for you, saving consumers hundreds of dollars on their bills for cable or cell phones. [Link]

Credit

New Type of Credit Score Aims to Widen Pool of Borrowers by Ann Carrns (NYT)

The creator of FICO credit ratings is testing a way to ultimately let more consumers borrow big money.  Have they not seen the housing data lately?? [Link; soft paywall]

Crypto

Coinbase and Circle announce the launch of USDC — a Digital Dollar (Coinbase)

Crypto exchange Coinbase and payments company circle are launching a fully-collateralized USD-linked stablecoin tied to the value of the US dollar. [Link]

Autism

500,000 teens with autism will become adults in next 10 years. Where will they work? by Suzanne Garofalo (Houston Chronicle)

Autism diagnosis rates have surged, and there are hundreds of thousands of young people on the spectrum who could benefit from the social and developmental challenges of employment, but training them is challenging and requires a very different approach from employers. At the same time, business could benefit from either direct hiring or public-private partnerships seeking to place folks with autism in either internships or full time employment. [Link]

Intellectual Property

Copyright Office Ruling Issues Sweeping Right to Repair Reforms by Kyle Wiens (iFixIt)

Some background on a ruling by the US patent office that gives consumers the right to jailbreak voice assistant devices, unlock new phones, repair smartphones, home appliances, and home systems, and repair motorized land vehicles including tractors by changing their software. None of this had been permitted explicitly prior to the ruling this week. [Link]

AI

Generating custom photo-realistic faces using AI by Saobo Guan (Insight Data Science)

An interesting tool that can change someone’s facial features using a few specific metrics while not making them look unrealistic. [Link]

Have a great Sunday!​

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