10 Weekend Reads

July 6, 2024 6:30am by
Barry Ritholtz

The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of  coffee, grab a seat outside, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:

These people still believe in democracy (little d) and are working to keep it. On this July 4th holiday, America’s system of democracy is under threat. These people are working to keep it alive and well. (USA Today)

• The Fried Chicken Sandwich Wars Are More Cutthroat Than Ever Before: Here’s why everyone from fast-casual chains to chefs at Michelin-starred restaurants are trying to one-up each other. (Businessweek)

America’s startup boom is still going strong. Here’s what it means for the economy: we’re now well past the pandemic crisis and even the pandemic recovery. It has been almost exactly four years since the startup boom began — and there’s still a bonanza of new business creation in the United States. It’s harder to be dismissive about it. (NPR)

What Is It Going to Take to Get to the End of Cancer, and Who Is Investing in It? How investors can participate in the fight against cancer. (Chief Investment Officer)

Building the Bell System: For most of the 20th century, AT&T was one of the largest and most important companies in the entire world. 40 years after its founding in 1877, it was the second largest company in the U.S. by assets after US Steel, and it continued to grow from there. In 1939, AT&T’s $5 billion in assets (the value of its telephone infrastructure) was “the largest aggregation of capital that has ever been controlled by a single company in the history of business.” In 1974, this had grown to $74 billion (~$470 billion in 2024 dollars). The company’s one million employees were more than 1% of the U.S. labor force. (Construction Physics)

The 84-Year-Old Visionary With One Answer for Two Real Estate Crises: While his peers were building Modernist towers, the architect Joseph Pell Lombardi devoted his life to restoring beautiful old buildings. (New York Times)

Mass Transit That Can Move a Megalopolis: Growing cities around the world are creating “rapid regional rail” systems that allow residents to commute across metro areas at high speeds. Will the US get on board? (Citylab)

A.I. Begins Ushering In an Age of Killer Robots: What the companies are creating is technology that makes human judgment about targeting and firing increasingly tangential. The widespread availability of off-the-shelf devices, easy-to-design software, powerful automation algorithms and specialized artificial intelligence microchips has pushed a deadly innovation race into uncharted territory, fueling a potential new era of killer robots. (New York Times)

How the Solar System led planet-hunters astray: The structure of our Solar System has been known for centuries. When we finally started finding exoplanets, they surprised everyone. (Big Think)

Kevin Bacon Spent a Day as a Regular Person: “I Was Like, This Sucks” The actor opens up about his storied career, the film industry’s “hierarchical bullshit,” and the two films he has opening this week: the horror movie MaXXXine and the Eddie Murphy action-comedy Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. (Vanity Fair)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business this week with Dr. Brian Klaas, Associate Professor in Global Politics at University College London, and a contributing writer for The Atlantic, and the author of numerous books on global politics. His new book is “Fluke: Chance, Chaos, and Why Everything We Do Matters.”

The Most Innovative Countries in the World in 2023

Source: Visual Capitalist

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Barry Ritholtz