RocaNews - 🌊 Snap, Crackle, Split

June 23, 2022

"The world has gone mad" is what semi-retired British pop singer Kate Bush had to say about one of her songs topping the charts 37 years after its release. All it took for "Running Up That Hill" to run up the charts was a Season 4 Stranger Things feature. If they dare play "Macarena" next.... 

In today's edition:

  • Kellogg's snaps, crackles, & pops
  • New trademark for... "the"?
  • Story of Rasputin, the finale
Sign up for the Roca Current →

 Key Stories

Kellogg's to Split into 3 Companies

Kellogg’s, one of the world’s largest snack and cereal firms, announced that it will split into 3 companies

  • The 116-year-old company, which earned $14.2B in revenue last year, will become separate companies focusing on snacks, cereal, and plant-based food
  • Kellogg’s snacks, such as Pringles and Cheez-Its, now account for ~80% of the company’s profits. One analyst stated that each company can now “focus solely on accomplishing [their] long-term goals”
  • This breakup, following several others last year, may signify a shift away from corporate “empire-building” towards a future of smaller, more efficient companies
Dig Deeper
  • Late last year, Johnson & Johnson, Toshiba, and General Electric broke into multiple new companies. Investors will receive proportional shares of the new splinter companies based on their possession of Kellogg's stock

Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake Hits Afghanistan

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook Afghanistan on Wednesday night, killing 1,000+

  • The quake — the country's deadliest in 20+ years — originated in Afghanistan's mountainous east. Tremors were also felt in neighboring Pakistan
  • The Taliban’s leader asked the international community to “help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy.” A government official said that entire villages were flattened, displacing thousands
  • The UN has allotted $15M to support recovery and relief efforts. Afghanistan already faces growing poverty due to international sanctions against the Taliban
Dig Deeper
  • The disaster leaves the Biden Admin. in an awkward position, having led international sanctions against the Taliban yet claiming to advocate for the welfare of its citizens. Biden reportedly pledged US aid, although details haven't been released yet

FDA Moves Against Big Tobacco and Juul

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced a proposal to regulate nicotine levels in cigarettes

  • The agency seeks to limit nicotine to “minimally addictive or non-addictive levels,” the first proposal of its kind. Cigarette use is responsible for 480k+ American deaths a year, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dubbed “historic” by anti-smoking advocates, the proposed rule would take effect by May 2023. It faces strong opposition from tobacco companies
  • In related news, the WSJ reported that the FDA will ban Juul e-cigarettes in the US. Competitors NJOY and Vuse will still be permitted to sell their products
Dig Deeper
  • Juul garnered criticism in 2018 due to allegations that it marketed its vaping products to children, particularly with its variety of flavored options. Today's decision comes after 2+ years of deliberations by the FDA about the public health consequences of Juul's products

Belief in God Hits Record Low in US

Per a Gallup poll, a record-low 81% of Americans believe in God

  • Gallup began asking the question in 1944, at which point 96% of Americans answered affirmatively. By 2011, the number had declined to 92%; by 2017, 87%
  • Only 72% of Democrats and 68% of young singles believe in God, while 92% of Republicans and 89% of married couples do. Analysts suggest that these differences partially explain broader political trends
  • In addition, steeper drops in church attendance and confidence in organized religion suggest Americans are changing the way they interact with religion
popcorn Popcorn
  • THE trademark: Ohio State University won a trademark for the use of the word "The" on merch. The university applied for it in 2019
  • Space oddity: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn have formed a rare alignment in the sky that should be visible 45 min before sunrise
  • Dear  ̶d̶i̶a̶r̶y̶ Twitter: Twitter is testing a "Notes" feature that will allow users to share posts of 2,500 words instead of its normal 280 characters
  • Inglorious treasure hunter: Brad Pitt said he was "obsessed" with finding hidden treasure on his French estate after a man told him it was there
  • RescueHub: A kidnapped woman was rescued after sending a cry for help on GrubHub to a local New York restaurant
  • Florida  ̶m̶a̶n̶ snake caught: The heaviest-ever snake ever captured in Florida clocked in at 215 lbs. The female python was 18-ft long

finger What do you think?

Today's Poll:
Have you ever heard a country song that doesn't mention beer or a pickup truck? 


Today's Question:

Best music genre at the beach? First song you're tossing on at the beach?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap!

 Roca Wrap

We return to Imperial Russia for part 3 of 3 of our Wrap series on Rasputin, the Siberian peasant whose "healing powers" secured him a spot in the tsar's inner circle. But his closeness to the royal family would soon cause his downfall...

In 1906, a Russian mystic named Grigori Rasputin was summoned to the Imperial Russia court. The royal couple – Tsar Nicholas Romanov and his wife Tsarina Alexandra – asked him to heal their baby, who was suffering from hemophilia. Within days, the boy appeared healed. From that moment on, the couple – particularly the tsarina – listened to Rasputin.
Rasputin encouraged Alexandra to worry less about Alexei’s health and convinced Nicholas to fill several high government roles with his appointees, further increasing his influence over Russian politics.
When World War I broke out in 1914 and Tsar Nicholas left St. Petersburg for the war front, rumors spread that Rasputin effectively ruled the country through Alexandra. Some also claimed they were sleeping together, although that rumor has never been proven.
Rasputin started to capitalize on his political status. While not serving the Imperial family, Rasputin was on the streets of St. Petersburg, leading a lavish and hedonistic lifestyle: Partying and drinking heavily while sleeping with noble women and prostitutes.
Rumors started to spread that Rasputin could not be trusted, and as Russia’s economy started to suffer during the war, many blamed Rasputin and his interference in state affairs for the country’s problems. People wanted Rasputin gone.
In 1916, a man named Prince Felix Yusupov and several co-conspirators decided to do just that, and plotted to assassinate Rasputin to protect the royal throne from his influence.
The men lured Rasputin to Yusupov’s house by claiming Yusupov’s wife was sick. Once there Rasputin was led to a dining room that had been staged with wine and cake to enjoy while “waiting” for the wife. Little did Rasputin know, both were laced with poison.
But nearly three hours later, Rasputin appeared fine. Frustrated, Yusupov grabbed a revolver and shot Rasputin multiple times – but was still unable to kill him. Finally, the other men shot Rasputin, and killed him at last. They threw his body over a bridge on the outskirts of St. Petersburg.
Or so Yusupov claims.

The account of the murder is the most widely known and taken from Yusupov’s memoir, in which Yusupov frames the murder as a heroic battle between good versus evil. Many question the sequence of events as an attempt to bolster book sales.
Another theory is that the British orchestrated his killing, fearing that he was pushing for Russia to make peace with Germany in World War I. Historians have found no credible evidence of this either, though.
However it happened, Rasputin met his end that fateful night. His frozen corpse was pulled out from the water 2 days later.
While Rasputin died that night in 1916, his legacy still looms large. While the line between truth and exaggeration has been blurred over time, his exploits – from a peasant to obscure Siberian monk, wandering Holy Man, and Imperial Russia’s underhand ruler – became the central theme of many famous books, films, and songs. 
And it’s said that he made one final, true prophecy just before his death: In a letter to the Tsar, he predicted that if he were killed by government officials, the entire Imperial family would be killed by the Russian people.
Over the next 15 months, a civil war broke out in Russia, and Nicholas, Alexandra, Alexei and the rest of their children were murdered by revolutionaries amidst the Russian Revolution.
Gone were the royal family and the infamous mystic monk.

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

 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Better summer shoes: Crocs or Birkenstocks? 
Crocs: 32.2%
Birkenstocks: 67.8%

Yesterday's Question:

Looking back on it now, what was the most bizarre part of the early months of Covid? Do you miss any aspect of it?

Mary from California: "Disinfecting groceries before they came in the house . We had “dirty” and “clean” zones."

Cheyenne from Philly: "Hospital employee here! I miss there being hardly any traffic on my way to work."

Brigit from Utah: "The weirdest part was seeing all the toilet paper selling out, like??? However I do miss the TikTok quarantine era at the time."
Today's Clue (Day 2 of 3):

A broken gnome, an American flag, and some PBRs
The SECRET Clue...


Each newsletter this week contains a clue about a movie-related landmark in the United States. Today's newsletter contains a bonus clue, which is automatically unlocked if you referred 2 people to this newsletter. In total there will be 4 clues about 1 landmark.

Prizes include $500 for 1st place and 2 movie tix for each of the next 4 to get it right!

You get one guess, which you submit by replying to a newsletter with a Google street view screenshot.
Day 1 Clue: A martyr and a thief, an unlikely friendship

 Final Thoughts

Yesterday was a tough day for poll results. We had hoped that Crocs would triumph over Birkenstocks as the better summer footwear, but Birkenstocks won in a landslide. This confirms something that we've long known but struggled to accept: We have absolutely no sense of style.

We loved reading your emails on Covid memories. Oh.... good times (?)

- Max and Max

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