Intervista Le Fonti TV 24 aprile 2018

La mia ultima intervista, in ordine di tempo, a Le Fonti TV. Questa volta si parla di governo italiano, Germania, dazi, riunione BCE, utili aziende americane, Iran.


Bespoke Brunch Reads: 4/22/18

Good Morning,

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

Tech Dystopia

Palantir Knows Everything About You by Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman, and Jordan Robertson (Bloomberg)

After a JPMorgan team that partnered with data analytics company Palantir went rogue, the company curtailed use of the firm’s services. What makes this concerning is the fact that Palantir also partners with law enforcement around the country, providing police a potentially egregious weapon that can be misused. [Link]

The latest trend for tech interviews: Days of unpaid homework by Melissa McEwen (Quartz)

Tech companies are taking to assigning large batches of work as evidence that potential hires are competent. [Link]

Arrogance Peaks in Silicon Valley by M. G. Siegler (500ish Words)

A righteous and warranted polemic against the insulated bubble of ideas that Silicon Valley has become, out of touch and impatient with society as a whole. [Link]

Tech Utopia

The End of the Joint As We Know It by Alyssa Bereznak (The Ringer)

With former Speaker of the House John Boehner partnering with a marijuana comapny and Senate Minority Leader Schumer calling for national legalization this week, the war on weed appears to be winding down. Get ready for a wave of new ways to imbibe the intoxicant. [Link]

Robot Conquers One of the Hardest Human Tasks: Assembling Ikea Furniture by Niraj Chokshi (NYT)

A robot has successfully assembled a piece of furniture from Ikea, achieving what we ourselves have failed at before and offering a vision of a world without Swedish instructions. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Stinks To High Heaven

The UK Refused To Raid A Company Suspected Of Money Laundering, Citing Its Tory Donations by Heidi Blake, Tom Warren, Richard Holmes, and Jane Bradley (Buzzfeed)

In a bombshell piece of investigative reporting, Buzzfeed details a decision not to raid a company despite evidence of wrongdoing because they are a donor to the current government’s party and a charity linked to the Royal Family. [Link]

A Train Full of Poop From New York Is Stranded in a Tiny Alabama Town by Jeff Martin and Jay Reeves (Bloomberg/AP)

New York exports human waste thanks to a federal ban on dumping into oceans, and one train carrying a load of that export is currently stranded to the dismay of a small Alabama town. [Link]


As Teams Seek More Relief, 13-Man Pitching Staffs Are the New Normal by Jared Diamond (WSJ)

The days of the complete game are long gone, as high pitch speeds and freakishly talented hitters have eroded the starter’s ability to go deep into the later innings. Now, shifts in strategy are again pushing up the number of relief pitchers necessary for a team to function. [Link; paywall]

Everyone Wants To Go Home During Extra Innings — Maybe Even The Umps by Michael Lopez and Brian Mills (538)

By the time innings stretch to double-digits, umpires start to get ready for the end of the game just like the rest of us. [Link]

How the Boston Marathon’s Runner-Up Shocked the Running World by Sara Germano (WSJ)

The first American woman in 33 years won the Boston Marathon, and her story is remarkable: mid-twenties, unknown, unsponsored, and running her second marathon ever. Her story is one of grit more than extreme athletic ability, arguably making it all the more impressive. [Link]


Treasure island: Rare metals discovery on remote Pacific atoll is worth billions of dollars by Chris Ciaccia (Fox News)

So-called “rare earths” aren’t actually that “rare” but they are certainly valuable and a discovery on a tiny Japanese atoll has been heralded as a game changer worth billions. [Link]

Russia Sanctions Throw Global Aluminum Industry Into Chaos by Thomas Biesheuvel and Jack Farchy (Bloomberg)

Sanctions on Russia’s United Co. Rusal have led to major disruptions in the global aluminum value chain; the company produces both inputs and final outputs, making the entire thing quite a mess. [Link; auto-playing video]

Helpful Hints

27 Incredibly Useful Things You Didn’t Know Chrome Could Do by JR Raphael (Fast Company)

Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin: helpful productivity tips for the ubiquitous Google web browser. [Link]


Why All My Books Are Now Free (Aka A Lesson In Amazon Money Laundering) (Meb Faber)

An interesting post describing the litany of non-publisher booksellers on Amazon and how they may be used for money laundering. [Link]


Americans Spent Record Amounts on Accounting Fees Last Year by Alexandre Tanzi and Vincent Del Giudice (Bloomberg)

Tax preparers of various types hauled in $44bn in revenue in Q4, working out to roughly $135 per person. [Link]


The Quarterback of the Kitchen? It’s Not Always the Chef by Tejal Rao (NYT)

While the head chef gets the TV shows, the expediter is the real hero, making sure that the complicated dance of the kitchen staff stays in sync and that dishes get to tables quickly. [Link]

Click here to check out our interactive Trend Analyzer tool for members.

Have a great Sunday!

Bespoke Brunch Reads: 4/1/18

Good Morning,

Below is our Bespoke Brunch Reads linkfest, featuring some of our favorite articles (both finance and non-finance related) over the past week.  Click here to learn more about Bespoke’s premium stock market research.

Billionaire Cosplaying

Robert Mercer’s Secret Adventure as a New Mexico Cop by Zachary Mider (Bloomberg)

A billionaire former hedge fund manager and political kingmaker spent time as a reserve deputy in New Mexico, which grants him the ability to carry concealed firearms anywhere in the country. [Link]

Digital Security

A Cyberattack Hobbles Atlanta, and Security Experts Shudder by Alan Blinder and Nicole Perlroth (NYT)

The city of Atlanta suffered a massive ransomware attack last week, with almost every digital corridor of local government locked up by a massive virus incursion. [Link; soft paywall]

Facebook Has Had Countless Privacy Scandals. But This One Is Different. by Carlie Warzel (Buzzfeed)

While there are tempting political narratives and blame games to play with the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook privacy scandal, the broader question of how to manage privacy in an era of big data collection where users are the product suggests it might be around a while. [Link]

Remarkable People

Biography (Stephen Wiltshire)

London-based artist Stephen Wiltshire is able to draw entire cityscapes, accurately and freehand, from a single trip up in a helicopter to see the skyline. He is mute and autistic. [Link]

The Former Khmer Rouge Slave Who Blew the Whistle on Wells Fargo by Emily Flitter (NYT)

Duke Tran fled Vietnam as a teenager, ending up a slave to the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Eventually, he made his way to the US, becoming a Wells Fargo debt collection associate and enjoying a happy middle class life. Then, he was fired for refusing to lie to customers about their foreclosures. Since, he’s become a millionaire on the back of massive whistleblower awards courtesy of massive fines levied on the bank. [Link; soft paywall]


Poll: Majority of Americans say they are not seeing change in paychecks due to tax cuts by Rebecca Savransky (The Hill)

While predictable (recent tax cuts were overwhelmingly focused on the upper end of the spectrum with only marginal changes on average for most taxpayers), it’s nonetheless a worrying sign that two months into lower withholding most Americans still haven’t noticed a change in their paycheck thanks to tax cuts. [Link; auto-playing video]


South Sudan Halts Spread of Crippling Guinea Worms by Donald G. McNeil (NYT)

A global campaign led by former President Jimmy Carter has been working to eradicate Guinea worm for more than 30 years. The disease is a parasite found in ponds; with South Sudan eliminating the disease there were only 15 cases in Chad and 15 in Ethiopia, meaning the end of the parasite is nigh.  [Link; soft paywall]

International Economics

Switzerland: Balance of payments by Nadia Gharbi (Pictet Wealth Management)

An explanation for the persistent and massive current account surplus run by Switzerland, despite a strengthening CHF. [Link; 7 page PDF]

Good Eats

Why Some of Queens’ Best Restaurants Are Leaving for Pricier Boroughs by Katie Honan (Eater NY)

As restaurants in Queens get attention, they leverage greater pricing power in other boroughs to raise prices at new locations, often leaving price-sensitive Queens customers behind. [Link]


The Dark Web’s Favorite Currency Is Less Untraceable Than It Seems by Andy Greenberg (Wired)

While Monero was designed to make payment tracing impossible, a new paper suggests that the mixing of payments which is designed to preserve anonymity can still be analyzed to determine where payments come from and go to. [Link]

Have a great Sunday!

Bespoke Brunch Reads: 3/25/18; The Bespoke Report Newsletter

Good Morning,

Our Bespoke Report newsletter from Friday contains a number of important stats and data points regarding the recent downturn in the market.  To read it, start a two-week free trial to any of our three membership levels now.

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


American corporations come out against Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs (The Economist)

Thus far only three of forty seven major trade associations have publicly commented in favor of new tariff programs, with the balance opposed. [Link; soft paywall]

Friended: How the Obama Campaign Connected with Young Voters by Michael Scherer (Time)

One irony of the Cambridge Analytica situation: the Obama For America app was doing the same thing back in 2012. Of course, in that case users knew a political campaign would have access to their friend lists, instead of a personality quiz passing the data on to a campaign later. [Link]

Ex-Obama Campaign Director Drops Bombshell Claim on Facebook: ‘They Were on Our Side’ by Jason Howerton (IJR)

Back in 2012, the Obama campaign pushed the boundaries of rules set by Facebook about how outside organization can use the information users allow apps to access. [Link]


Why Are Prime-Age Men Vanishing from the Labor Force? by Didem Tuzeman (Kansas City Fed)

Evidence that the prime age employment rate for men has fallen because of polarization in the labor force, with all sorts of negative consequences as a result. [Link; 26 page PDF]

Pent-Up Demand and Continuing Price Increases: The Outlook for 2018 by Jordan Rappaport (Kansas City Fed)

Catch-up effects in household formation, mean reversion declining average household size, and cyclical factors are all significant tailwinds for housing demand, but low worker availability, limited land availability, and land use regulation are all constraining factors that mean prices are likely to continue accelerating. [Link]

Can big data revolutionise policymaking by governments? by Robin Wigglesworth (FT)

A walk through the world of big data and how it can be used to generate private sector – and maybe one day, official sector – statistics about the state of output and activity. [Link; paywall]

Read The 10-K

Hedge-fund managers that do the most research will post the best returns, study suggests by Thomas Fracnk (CNBC)

A new data set shows that hedge funds which download more annual reports from the SEC’s EDGAR filing system tend to outperform the market. [Link]


Talent, luck and success: simulating meritocracy and inequality with stochasticity by Hongsup Shin (Medium)

A longform summary of simulations which show where inequality comes from and what can exacerbate it. Very helpful as a toy model. [Link]

Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys by Emily Badger, Claire Cain Miller, Adam Pearce, and Kevin Quealy (NYT Upshot)

New research shows enormous racial bias in the relationship between endowment effects (how rich a child’s parents are) and outcomes (how rich the children end up). Controlling for the huge advantages of growing up in a high income family, black children still end up much, much less well off than white children. [Link]

European Affairs

German Mittelstand faces generational crisis by Olaf Storbeck (FT)

In the coming half-decade, more than 800,000 small and medium business owners in Germany will be faced with the question of who will take over when founder-owner-operators hang up their spurs. [Link; paywall]

Italy Is Latest Nation to Become a Gas Exporter by Chiara Albanese and Tommaso Ebhardt (Bloomberg)

European natural gas supplies have historically been heavily dependent on Russian exports, but new Mediterranean lines that reach northern Europe via Italy are changing that. [Link]


Who Goes Nazi? by Dorothy Thompson (Harper’s)

An essay from 1941 reflecting on what sort of person in that era found appeal in the Nazi regime; while authoritarianism never found even a small foothold in America, its appeal seems like it would have been inevitable. [Link]

Why He Kayaked Across The Atlantic AT 70 (For The Third Time) by Elizabeth Weil (NYT Magazine)

In his 7th decade, Polish kayaker Aleksander Doba ended a 110 day solo crossing of the Atlantic. It’s almost indescribable how impressive that physical and mental feat is. [Link]

My Candid Conversations with Extremely Online Folks Who Suffer From Internet Broken Brain by Luke O’Neil (Esquire)

What’s it like to spend more time on Twitter than anything else you do? Very funny, but also a bit sad, and completely absurd. [Link]


Understanding China’s Rise Under Xi Jinping by Kevin Rudd (Sinocism)

A reproduction of former Australia Prime Minister Rudd’s views on the most powerful man in China. This essay is extremely long and wide-ranging but provides as comprehensive of a view of the man as exists anywhere. [Link]

China’s Rise: How It Took on the U.S. at the WTO by Gregory Shaffer and Henry S. Gao (SSRN)

An underrated fact about China is that when it acceded to the WTO, it invested enthusiastically in legal capacity to defend its trade policies and attack others’ in international forums. [Link]

Mapping shadow banking in China: structure and dynamics by Torsten Ehlers, Steven Kong and Feng Zhu (BIS Working Papers)

If you’re interested in keeping track of how the financial system in China operates, this paper is an extremely helpful piece of background and reference. [Link]


A Self-Driving Uber Killed a Woman. Whose Fault Is It? by Matt Ford (New Republic)

Ford does a thoughtful job deconstructing how to think about accidents – especially those involving fatalities – when an algorithm is behind the wheel. [Link]

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Were Struggling Before Arizona Crash by Daisuke Wakabayashi (NYT)

In the months ahead of an accident which killed a pedestrian in Arizona this week, Uber was struggling to keep up in the race to deploy self-driving vehicles. [Link; soft paywall]

The Fed

The Fed Makes a Risky Bet on Overshooting Its Inflation Target by Tim Duy

In the latest SEP, the FOMC’s forecasts implicitly mean that the central bank will overshoot its inflation objective while unemployment is extremely low, effectively guaranteeing that it will have to hike hard and fast to catch up with inflation. [Link]


Citi sets restrictions on gun sales by retail clients by Ross Kerber and David Henry (Reuters)

Customers who use Citi’s services to operate retail businesses will have to conform to new policies around the sales of guns or face the end of their banking relationship. [Link]


The Glory That Was Yahoo by Dan Tynan (Fast Company)

Once upon a time, Yahoo was dominant. Then, almost overnight, it all unraveled into a $5bn sale to Verizon. [Link]


Average website gets attacked 44 times a day by Ian Barker (Beta News)

New research on more than 6 million websites showed that the average site could be attacked as often as 16,000 times in a given year. [Link]


Cinderella Story? It’s True for U.M.B.C. in Academics, Too by Erica L. Green (NYT)

The University of Maryland Baltimore County is the first men’s basketball 16 seed to win a game in the NCAA’s annual tournament, but its academic history and achievement is arguably more impressive. [Link; soft paywall]

Have a great Sunday!