The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Conquistador coffee, grab a seat where its dry, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:
• The End IS Near. No, Seriously. All epidemics end, vaccine or no vaccine. The Spanish Flu ended. The Black Death ended. And yes, in those cases, herd immunity did it. We reached it the hard way — down the stone paths in the cemeteries— but we got there. (Medium)
• The Microwave Economy We’ve overwhelmingly used our wealth to make the world cheaper instead of more beautiful, more functional instead of more meaningful. We don’t value what we can’t quantify, so our intuitions are given short shrift. In the name of progress, we belittle the things we know but can’t articulate. The result is an economy that prizes function over form and calls human nature “irrational”—one that over-applies rationality and undervalues the needs of the soul.(David Perell)
• ARK’s Cathie Wood: “Innovation Is Inherently Controversial” Every day we look five years out. Every day. Let’s look at February, for example. We were saying to people, “Look, keep some powder dry.” Nothing goes straight up, and certainly our portfolios as a whole had gone up dramatically over the previous three months. So now there’s a side of me that’s saying, “Wow, this was a pretty severe correction over a very short period of time,” but there’s another side of me saying, “If we’re right, then this will not continue.” (ETF Trends)
• Deutsche Bank’s Nightmare Decade Is Gone, But Not Yet Forgotten Halfway through the CEO’s radical four-year restructuring, the perennial sick man of European finance appears to be on the mend. Its shares have more than doubled from a record low, when the pandemic revived old fears whether Germany’s largest lender was strong enough to survive another crisis. Instead of collapsing under bad loans, Deutsche Bank successfully rode a trading wave that’s buoyed investment banks globally. After years of gloom, some executives inside the Frankfurt headquarters are now even considering deals as they seek to profit from the recent stumbles of rivals. (Bloomberg)
• Inside Operation Warp Speed: A New Model for Industrial Policy Operation Warp Speed was a triumph of public health policy. But it was also a triumph and validation of industrial policy. OWS shows what the U.S. government can still accomplish when it comes to tackling a seemingly unsolvable technological challenge. It demonstrates the strength of the U.S. developmental state, despite forty years of ideological assault. (American Affairs Journal)
• Calling Marshall Seventy-five years ago, the world was ravaged by the defining crisis of the 20th century. Tens of millions died, societies were shattered, and geopolitical power plates experienced tectonic shifts. Of the world’s great powers, only one emerged relatively unscarred, with its innovation, leadership, and manufacturing stronger: the United States. America seized the opportunity to extend a hand of unprecedented strength and generosity to its allies and former enemies. It poured aid into their economies, dispatched expertise, and invested in treaties and global organizations on a historic scale. This was enlightened self-interest, and altruism … which are not mutually exclusive. The result has been nearly a century of prosperity and (relative) peace. (No Mercy / No Malice)
• Are U.S. Officials Under Silent Attack? The Havana Syndrome first affected spies and diplomats in Cuba. Now it has spread to the White House. Their working hypothesis is that agents of the G.R.U., the Russian military’s intelligence service, have been aiming microwave-radiation devices at U.S. officials to collect intelligence from their computers and cell phones, and that these devices can cause serious harm to the people they target. Yet during the past four years U.S. intelligence agencies have been unable to find any evidence to back up this theory, let alone sufficient proof to publicly accuse Russia. (New Yorker)
• One Man’s Amazing Journey to the Center of the Bowling Ball Mo Pinel spent a career reshaping the ball’s inner core to harness the power of physics. He revolutionized the sport—and spared no critics along the way. (Wired)
• 50 Memorial Day Grilling Recipes for 2021 These recipes still give you plenty of options, though, for your Memorial Day barbecue: flavorful grilled chicken, grilled vegetables, all of our favorite ribs, the ultimate grilled pizza, grilled dip (yes, that’s right, grilled dip) and more. Below, you’ll find our favorite picks for your May 31 menu—or any time you might get the grill going before then. A curated list of the best grilling recipes for your Memorial Day cookout. (Epicurious)
• Johnny Knoxville’s Last Rodeo He’s been offering up his pain in this fashion for 20 years, ever since he first flung himself, human-cannonball-style, into the center ring of the great American pop-cultural circus. Jackass, the stunts-and-pranks television show that he cocreated and starred on, ran for only three seasons on MTV, but with time it came to occupy an unusually influential position in our collective consciousness—an improbable achievement given what the show consisted of. As he prepares to release his final Jackass film, the stuntman takes stock of a surprisingly long, hilariously painful, and unusually influential career. (GQ)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Carson Block of Muddy Waters. The firm is known for its scathing in-depth research reports and shorts of various companies, several of which have collapsed.
Amazon Acquires MGM
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.