RocaNews - 🌊 Boaring Days in Rome

May 10, 2022

Inflation is really getting out of hand... but that's just my 3 cents. We did find a feel-good price story from our recent past, however, that might cheer you up: On this day in 2016, the price of postage stamps declined — from 49 cents to 47 cents — for the first time in 100 years. Hold on... Siri, what's a stamp?

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Key Stories

Let the Boars Hit the Floor

  • Rome is planning to implement a wild boar “slaughtering plan”
  • ~100K+ wild boars live in Rome. They’ve been known to threaten residents and pets, and eat trash. Last week, a dead boar found in the city was infected with a disease that could devastate livestock
  • This weekend, authorities declared “red zone” areas in and around Rome, banning residents from some outdoor activities where boars are active
  • Italy’s wild boar population has exploded to 2.3M since the introduction of a fast-breeding boar species from Romania
Regarding the boar "slaughtering plan," Italy's health minister said, “I respect the sensitivities of animal rights activists and environmentalists, but we are facing an emergency and it must be addressed with emergency measures.”

Russian Victory Day

  • Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian people during the country’s Victory Day parade
  • Victory day, which commemorates the Allies’ victory over Germany in 1945, is a major holiday in Russia and the other former Soviet countries. Nearly 10% of the USSR’s population died in WW2
  • Many expected Putin to make a major declaration about the war in Ukraine, however he did not
  • Putin said that Russia is again at war with Nazis, and told Russian soldiers that in Ukraine, “You are fighting for the Motherland, for its future, for no one to forget the lessons of the Second World War”
Putin claimed that in Ukraine, Russian soldiers "are fighting on their own land." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also gave a speech, in which he accused Russia of repeating the “horrific crimes of Hitler’s regime.” “There is no occupier who can take root in our free land,” he said.

Stock Market Woes

  • Stocks have hit their lowest point of 2022
  • Since May 5, the Dow (which tracks industrial stocks) is down 5.6%, the S&P 500 (which tracks the US economy broadly) is down 7%, and the Nasdaq (which tracks the technology sector) is down 10.3%
  • Tech stocks have led the drop: Since Jan 1, Netflix is down 71%, Snap 50%, Uber 47%, Meta 42%, and Amazon 36%
  • Concerns about economic growth and rising interest rates are driving the drop. The Federal Reserve is raising rates to fight inflation, but higher rates generally hurt stocks and growth
According to a Morgan Stanley report, recent drops have cost average amateur traders all the gains they made during the pandemic. Day traders were more heavily invested in the volatile stocks these drops have crushed.

Europe Gets Trippy

  • Europe’s first commercial center for psychedelic drug trials will open in London this August
  • A pharmaceutical startup called Clerkenwell Health is launching the center, which will test a range of drugs for potential mental health benefits
  • A number of universities have been conducting similar trials. Results suggest that drugs including psilocybin (mushrooms) and MDMA are effective for treating PTSD, depression, and other conditions
  • “Our aim is to establish the UK as the heart of the commercial psychedelic research ecosystem,” said Clerkenwell’s CEO
Given regulations, the company's trials will need to meet a specific set of criteria. Academic studies have found that in the right conditions, psychedelics may be among the most effective treatments for addiction, depression, and PTSD.

finger What do you think?

Today's Poll:
Which language do you believe is more important for kids today to learn?

*|Survey: Spanish|*

Today's Question:
Which band breakup from music history do you find saddest? Why?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap!

popcorn Popcorn

Culture & Sports
  • Feeling blue: The long-awaited trailer for the first sequel to James Cameron's 2009 all-time blockbuster Avatar is out. Watch here!
  • Big Nik energy: Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is expected to be named NBA MVP for the 2nd consecutive season
  • Rolling in the Depp: Roasting Amber Heard is a popular trend on TikTok. Videos with "#AmberTurd" have been viewed 1.2B times 

  • Netflix and tank? Netflix's stock is down 71.3% so far this year. The tech stock bloodbath continued yesterday
  • No survivors: Crypto was not spared in yesterday's market rout. Bitcoin plunged more than 10% to $30,954, days after hitting $40,000
  • A real keel-joy: Italian authorities seized a $700M superyacht with links to the highest ranks of Russia's government, perhaps to Putin himself

  • Shady waters: A second set of human remains was found in Lake Mead, days after other human remains were found in the Vegas reservoir
  • Goodest boy in Kyiv: Zelensky awarded a bomb-sniffing dog a medal. The Jack Russell terrier named Patron has sniffed out 200+ explosives
  • Baby rations: Walgreens and CVS are limiting the number of baby formula cans that customers can buy at one time
  • NFZuck: Instagram will be testing NFTs as early as next week, allowing users to showcase the digital collectibles that they own

Roca Wrap

A Newsletter Exclusive

On November 16, 1974, mankind tried to contact aliens. 

From a radio telescope in Puerto Rico, astronomers beamed out 1,679 bits of data at the speed of light. The destination was globular star cluster M13, a collection of several hundred thousand stars about 21,000 light-years from Earth. The experiment was called the Arecibo Message. 

It wasn’t the first attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life: Recordings and pictures had been put on spacecraft and sent into the universe before. The Arecibo Message was the most powerful broadcast ever sent into space, though, and it was designed for a broad range of civilizations to be able to receive it.

Frank Drake, an astronomer who created an equation to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way, designed the message, with help from Carl Sagan and other astronomers. They beamed the message to celebrate the remodeling of Puerto Rico’s Arecibo radio telescope. 

The message contained 7 parts: 

  • The numbers 1 through 10 
  • 3 parts related to DNA, its structure, and the compounds that comprise it
  • The dimensions and graphics of an average man and the population of Earth
  • A map of the Solar System
  • An image of the telescope that transmitted the message

It was communicated via binary digits, which the astronomers hoped any civilization in the universe would be able to understand. When translated, the digits display a 23-by-73 character-size picture, conveying the information above. 

Even if the message were to reach an alien civilization, though, many say that it would be impossible for it to be deciphered, given the extremely rough images the binaries create. "It was strictly a symbolic event, to show that we could do it," said one Cornell astronomer who worked on the project. 

The message’s signal is about 10M times as strong as the normal radio signals emitted by our sun, and theoretically anyone with a large radio telescope would be able to detect it. Right now, 48 years after launch, the message is nearly 300 trillion miles from Earth – about 1/500th of the distance to its target stars. 

A new message may be in the works: NASA-affiliated scientists recently proposed an updated version, using a similar method as the Arecibo Message but containing more information. “Binary is likely universal across all intelligence,” the scientists wrote, detailing how the system would convey additional representations of DNA, human anatomy, and more. Their message would contain about 122 times as much information as the 1974 version. 

Some will oppose such a message because of the risk of an alien species destroying mankind, the scientists say before dismissing the argument: “Logic suggests a species which has reached sufficient complexity to achieve communication through the cosmos would also very likely have attained high levels of cooperation amongst themselves and thus will know the importance of peace and collaboration.”  

It’s unclear if the new message will actually be approved, or when it would be sent. For now, the Arecibo Message’s 1,679 bits continue to travel, introducing our planet to whomever notices it.

If you have thoughts, let us know at!
Future Wrap ideas or requests? Let us know!

wave Roca Clubhouse
Yesterday's Poll:

Should we try to communicate with alien life? 
Yes: 54.5%
No: 45.5%

Yesterday's Question:

Based on record sales, Celine Dion was the biggest musical artist of the 1990s. Who do you consider the top artist of the 1990s? 

Anand from Oakland: "Snoop Dogg! Do I even need to clarify why?"

Ryan from Boston: "Not my taste, but the first to mind is the Backstreet Boys &
Mariah Carey"

Sadie from Florida: "Pearl Jam OR Dave Matthews Band"

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Final Thoughts 

We hope you all have great Tuesdays, and that no hostile alien species picks up Earth's signal before our next newsletter. If they do, you can read about it here at 11 AM EST tomorrow! 

- Max and Max
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