Il compagno Jack Ma. Come mai il più noto capitalista cinese è un COMUNISTA?

Jack Ma è ufficialmente un membro del partito comunista cinese. Come può essere possibile coniugare capitalismo e comunismo?


Bespoke Brunch Reads: 11/18/18; Equity Market Pros and Cons

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

Social Media

Facebook Morale Takes a Tumble Along With Stock Price by Deepa Seetharaman (WSJ)

As Facebook continues to digest swirling drama around content moderation, lobbying, and other scandals, the stock price continues to lose ground and that’s having a brutal impact on employee morale. [Link; paywall]

Burned to death because of a rumour on WhatsApp by Marcos Martínez (BBC)

The horrifying story of small town rumor mills turbo-charged by instant messages which resulted in the assault and murder of two entirely innocent men in Mexico. [Link]


In week 10 we were 9-3 vs. the spread, which brings our overall winning percentage to 77-55 (58.33%).  Here are our week 11 NFL picks.

NBA Stars Make It Easier for You to Watch Them Play Esports by Christopher Palmeri (Bloomberg)

Fans are starting to watch NBA players play their favorite video games, and a variety of different services are lining up to help facilitate more fan-player interaction. [Link; soft paywall]

No One Has Ever Crossed Antarctica Unsupported. Two Men Are Trying Right Now. by Adam Skolnick (NYT)

Two years ago, a man lost his life trying to cross the entire continent of Antarctica on foot, but that isn’t deterring two man team from attempting the near-impossible. [Link; soft paywall]


The Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an Anti-Depressive Treatment is Falling: A Meta-Analysis by Tom J. Johnsen and Oddgeir Friborg (Psychological Bulletin)

Using data from 70 different studies between 1977 and 2014, the authors reach the conclusion that cognitive behavioral therapy (talk therapy) is becoming much less effective (or perhaps wasn’t that effective to begin with). [Link; 23 page PDF]

The Flu Shot Needs Fewer Stats And More Stories by Maryn McKenna (Wired)

Last flu season, almost 80,000 people died at the hands of the flu after only 37% of adults got the flu vaccine, despite efficacy and safety that could prevent thousands of deaths. [Link; soft paywall]


I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It. by Kevin Alexander (Thrillist)

The darker side of those lists you read – and decide where to eat based on – which had the horrible side effect of ruining the restaurant. A cautionary tale about which kinds of customers a business should focus on. [Link]

Welcome to the Golden Age of Grocery Shopping by Clint Rainey (Grub Street)

While the grocery business has been challenged in terms of margins, the benefits have been huge for consumers in terms of choices and prices. [Link]

Weird News

Face off: Realistic masks made in Japan find demand from tech, car companies by Kwiyeon Ha (Reuters)

One small Japanese company is cashing in on the market for highly realistic face masks, which have a surprising number of uses that surprised us. [Link]

Raccoons drunk on crab apples cause false rabies scare in West Virginia by Cleve R. Woodson Jr. (BHMG News/WaPo)

The denizens of Milton, West Virginia were concerned that they were being terrorized by raccoons “behaving weirdly”; thankfully, rotting crab apples were the true source of the odd behavior. [Link]


The Economics of the Great War: A Centennial Perspective by Stephen Broadberry and Mark Harrison (VOXEU)

A sweeping overview of the historical causes, conduct, and consequences of the First World War; this week marked the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. [Link]

Work Life

Cornering Your Boss, Snapping Pictures at Your Desk: It’s Take Your Parents to Work Day by Te-Ping Chen (WSJ)

In an aging society it shouldn’t really surprise us that office visits from parents rather than children are becoming a thing, but that doesn’t make it any less weird. [Link; paywall]

Mitch McConnell Guarantees Industrial Hemp Legalization by Kyle Jaeger (Marijuana Moment)

While federal decriminalization of marijuana probably isn’t happening soon, industrial hemp legalization is another story as the Senate Majority Leader has cleared the way for approval in the next farm bill. [Link]

Convenience, Consternation

The War Inside 7-Eleven by Lauren Etter and Michael Smith (Bloomberg)

Combining corporate power, federal law enforcement, and immigration law, this story is an incredible insight into the stand-off between 7-Eleven and its franchisees with significant collateral damage. [Link; soft paywall]


At Netflix, Who Wins When It’s Hollywood vs. the Algorithm? by Shalini Ramachandran and Joe Flint

In the race for viewer engagement, Netflix is often torn between what data tells it and the expertise it’s hired to manage talent and produce content the old fashioned way. [Link; paywall]

Have a great Sunday!​

Start a two-week Bespoke research trial now.

Bespoke Investment Group, LLC

105 Calvert Street, Suite 100

Harrison, NY 10528


Twitter: @bespokeinvest

Bespoke Brunch Reads: 11/4/18

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

But first, our week 9 picks.


The day Volkswagen briefly conquered the world by Jamie Powell (FTAV)

A long but incredible read re-capping the mother of all short squeezes: during the middle of the financial crisis, Volkswagen briefly became the most valuable company in the world as shares quintupled in a few days. [Link; registration required]

Morgan Stanley breaks with rest of Street, thinks October sell-off is ‘morphing’ into a bear market by Thomas Franck (CNBC)

An out-of-consensus call from MS blames the Fed’s liquidity drain and over-optimistic earnings assumptions for declines that will persist in the bank’s equity strategy view. [Link]

National Security

The CIA’s communications suffered a catastrophic compromise. It started in Iran. by Zach Dorfman and Jenna McLaughlin (Yahoo!)

A deep read on the massive intelligence failure which lead to scores of deaths for CIA assets in Iran and China (as well as other countries) when foreign intelligence services literally used Google searches to break into the previously secure communications system used to communicate with operatives on the ground. [Link]

Consumers & Advertising

On Hold for 45 Minutes? It Might Be Your Secret Customer Score by Khadeeja Safdar (WSJ)

Unbeknownst to many consumers, companies track their value in terms of spending over time and use it to inform who gets which perks, deals, or customer care. [Link; paywall]

By the numbers: The rise of “belief-driven” buyers by Marisa Fernandez (Axios)

Fully two-thirds of people worldwide say a company’s stance on societal issues impacts whether they do business with company, a significant leap versus a year ago per new Edelman data. [Link]

We posed as 100 Senators to run ads on Facebook. Facebook approved all of them by William Turton (Vice)

Advertisers can easily pose as others on Facebook’s ad system, potentially allowing deception by creating ads that contain false information attributed to other campaigns. [Link]

Real Estate

The problem with housing is prices have recovered but demand hasn’t: Real estate mogul Sam Zell by Tyler Clifford (CNBC)

Zell thinks housing is facing a breakdown of traditional housing market structure which has disconnected prices and demand. [Link]

As the housing market stagnates, American homeowners are staying put for the longest stretches ever by Andrea Riquier (MarketWatch)

The average length of time that a house has been occupied before being solid has doubled over the past 10 years, reflecting lower mobility and less flow of transactions as well as lower new home sales. [Link]

Weird News

‘Better Call Saul’ Actor Cut Off His Own Arm So He Could Pass As A Wounded Vet And Land Roles by James Clark (Task & Purpose)

An actor who claimed he lost his arm during military services admitted that he amputated his own arm in order to pass himself off as a wounded veteran. [Link]

Meet The Hydro-Haters: The People Who Refuse To Drink Water, No Matter What by Quinn Myers (Mel Magazine)

There are actually people out there who think that drinking water is so bad that they’ll risk an ER trip for dehydration instead of taking a sip of the substance which make up 50-60% of our bodies. [Link]


Market Cheats Getting Caught in Record Numbers by Gabriel T. Rubin (WSJ)

Spoofers face a much higher risk of getting caught thanks to new data sharing provisions between the CME and SEC. In 2018 more than 25 cases were brought against spoofers, more than double the previous high. [Link; paywall]

Cancer-linked Chemicals Manufactured by 3M Are Turning Up in Drinking Water by Tiffany Kary and Christopher Cannon (Bloomberg)

A huge number of manufacturing facilities, military bases, and civilian airports are contaminated with a substance commonly found in Teflon and other products. Since the chemicals don’t break down naturally by design, they can build up over time and have been linked to cancer. [Link; soft paywall]

Despite criticism and concerns, FDA approves a new opioid 10 times more powerful than fentanyl by Ed Silverman (STAT News)

Despite ongoing concerns about the prevalence of opioid abuse, the FDA has approved a new drug that is drastically stronger than even fentanyl, a substance that’s already so dangerous that tiny exposure can kill those handling it. [Link]


Trump Car Standards Rollback Knocked for Faulty Analysis by Abby Smith (Bloomberg)

The EPA and NHTSA have proposed rolling back Obama-era fuel economy standards, arguing that their cost benefit analysis shows $200bn in benefits and 12,700 fewer fatalities through 2029. But global automakers led by Honda have raised challenges to the analysis, arguing that it relies on unrealistic assumptions which when corrected flip the entire analysis from benefits to costs. [Link]

Crack whacked as surplus back by Matt Smith (ClipperData)

The gasoline market in the US has flipped from deficit into surplus, driving down crack spreads between gasoline and raw crude. [Link]


Machine-learning algorithm beats 20 lawyers in NDA legal analysis by Cal Jeffrey (TechSpot)

A machine-learning approach has yielded a 94% accuracy versus 85% for a panel of lawyers, in a tiny fraction of the time. [Link]

Stupid Patent of the Month: How 34 Patents Worth $1 Led to Hundreds of Lawsuits by Daniel Nazer (EFF)

The story of Shipping & Transit, a small company which leveraged a small number of patents into millions of dollars worth of lawsuits. [Link]

Pop Culture

30 Rock’s Werewolf Bar Mitzvah: An Oral History by Mike Roe (LAist)

The oral history of one of the strangest but persistent Halloween jokes of the past generation. [Link]

Labor Markets

The ‘gig economy’ is hugely overhyped, new study says by Adriana Belmonte (Yahoo!)

New BLS and Conference Board data suggests that the gig economy (freelance, independent work, these days mostly empowered by apps like Uber, Instacart, and the like) is vastly overhyped and a tiny share of the overall labor market. [Link; auto-playing video]

Hedge Funds

Bridgewater’s New Brain: A Millennial Woman Is Blazing To The Top Of The World’s Largest Hedge Fund by Nathan Vardi (Forbes)

The head of Bridgewater Associates investment research group is 31 years old and sits in a critical seat steering the capital of the world’s largest hedge fund. [Link]


America’s Other Family-Separation Crisis by Sarah Stillman (The New Yorker)

With the number of women in state prisons up more than 5% per year for 4 decades straight (despite crime rates that have been falling consistently for the last 20 years) a huge number of mothers have been separated from their children with disastrous consequences for those kids. [Link]

Health Care

A Sense of Alarm as Rural Hospitals Keep Closing by Austin Frakt (NYT)

Hospitals in rural areas are consolidating and closing. While sometimes that can have positive effects on health outcomes, in general it’s a massive source of concern. Many factors are at play, but given the huge majority of closures are in states that have not expanded Medicaid, accepting federal money tied to the ACA seems to be one weapon states can use to preserve rural hospital infrastructure. [Link; soft paywall]

Have a great Sunday!​

Start a two-week Bespoke research trial now.

Bespoke Investment Group, LLC

105 Calvert Street, Suite 100

Harrison, NY 10528


Twitter: @bespokeinvest

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.


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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!​

Start a two-week Bespoke research trial now.

Bespoke Investment Group, LLC

105 Calvert Street, Suite 100

Harrison, NY 10528


Twitter: @bespokeinvest