RocaNews - 🌊 Good News at the Pump

July 20, 2022

53 years ago today, Neil Armstrong uttered some famous words on humanity's first moonwalk — but what if he said something better? "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" might be catchy, but so is "Hey, can we do another take? The green screen is throwing me off."

In today's edition:

  • Musk v. Twitter has a date
  • NASCAR's first street race
  • Frost eats a rodent
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 Key Stories

US Gas Prices Drop

The average US retail gas price has fallen below $4.50 for the first time since May

  • In mid-June, average US gas prices exceeded $5/gallon for the first time. Prices have since fallen, as supply has increased and demand has dropped, in part because of fears of a recession
  • In 11 states, average gas prices are lower than $4.22. Gas remains most expensive in California, at $5.87. Some financial indicators suggest that prices will fall further in the coming weeks
  • High gas prices are one of many factors that have pushed US inflation to 9.1%, a 41-year high

Google & Chevron Bet Big on Fusion

TAE Technologies, a California startup working on pioneering nuclear fusion, received $250M in funding from investors including Chevron and Google

  • Nuclear fusion combines atoms to produce energy. It is the opposite of nuclear fission, which occurs in modern nuclear reactors and splits atoms to create energy. If harnessed, fusion could theoretically provide unlimited carbon-free energy
  • Sustained nuclear fusion has never been achieved, yet TAE believes it will be selling energy by 2030
  • Huge bets ride on the tech: Fusion companies have received $2.8B in investments in the last year alone
Dig Deeper
  • Although nuclear fusion was first achieved in 1952, scientists have struggled to reach the "net energy gain" threshold, at which point more energy is produced than used. TAE recently passed a technical milestone by producing a reactor temperature of 135M°F (75M°C)

Twitter-Musk Trial Date Set

A Delaware judge sided with Twitter’s request for an expedited trial, setting up an October start date

  • Elon Musk agreed to purchase Twitter in April for $44B. But after months of alleging that Twitter lied about the percentage of its accounts that are bots, Musk terminated the deal on July 8. Twitter has sued Musk to force him to complete the $44B purchase
  • The October start date is seen as a win for Twitter. The company had asked for an expedited trial, claiming that “continued uncertainty” over the deal “inflicts harm on Twitter, every hour of every day”
  • Musk’s lawyers had asked for a February 2023 trial
Dig Deeper
  • Since the deal, Twitter's stock has fallen 27% and Tesla's stock has fallen 27.1%. Twitter argues that Musk backed out of the deal due to "buyer's remorse"; Musk denies this and argues that Twitter failed to disclose data

17 Members of Congress Arrested

17 progressive Democratic congresspeople — including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib — were arrested on Tuesday outside the Supreme Court

  • Police arrested the lawmakers at an abortion rights rally after warning them to unblock a street. In total, 35 people were arrested for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding”
  • The rally, which was protesting last month’s Roe decision, ended in front of the Supreme Court. While none of the lawmakers were handcuffed, they were escorted away by police
  • The members were reportedly fined and released

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popcorn Popcorn
  • Windy 500: NASCAR will host its first-ever street race next year in Chicago. The 2.2-mile loop will take place on July 2
  • God save the AC: The UK recorded its first 40ºC (104ºF) temperature in history. Britain's heat wave has also led to an increase in fires
  • Get Out 2: A new Covid-based lockdown in China has stranded 2,000 tourists in a popular seaside city with no end in sight
  • Canceled kid: A Jackie Chan-produced movie is taking heat for filming action scenes in a Syrian town that was destroyed in its civil war
  • Finger lickin' spacious: The longtime home of KFC's Colonel Sanders has hit the market! The Kentucky home also includes a restaurant
  • Neigh York's finest: An NYPD officer on horseback chased down a sunglass thief in Times Square. His body cam caught the footage 

finger What do you think?

Today's Poll:
No meat for a week or no ice cream for a month?
No meat
No ice cream

Today's Question:
What's the most re-watchable movie? Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is not an acceptable answer...

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap!

 Roca Wrap

We sent Roca co-founder Max Frost on a mission to cross the Amazon without flying. He's documenting the trip here over the coming newsletters. 

16 hours after leaving Peru’s capital, Lima, my bus arrived in Cajamarca – a small city in the mountains of northern Peru. 

Peru has 3 terrains: The western portion of the country is desert, the central is the Andes Mountains, and the eastern is the Amazon. I had to get from Lima, in the desert, to the Amazon, where I could catch a boat into the rainforest. The mountains in between are some of the highest in the world. 

Cajamarca – at 8,000 feet – was on the edge of the mountains. I took a bus there because I thought I’d be able to find a ride deeper into the mountains, and from there to the Amazon river port. I planned to spend an hour or 2 in the city. 

On the way, though, I met a Peruvian whose 31-yo daughter had recently spent 6 months in the US and spoke good English. They were headed to a family reunion and invited me to stay with them, offering me a bed at the grandfather’s home. The mother of the family later told me that her motherly instinct kicked in when she saw me looking alone and confused in the bus station.

So after arriving in Cajamarca, I went to an uncle’s house for breakfast with the extended family. After that, we had a 10AM rooftop glass of wine with a mountain view. Then the daughter – Yessi – took me on a tour. The city was packed with people celebrating a Catholic festival, for which elaborate flower artwork had been laid out across the central plaza. She also took me to a market – overflowing with exotic fruits, spices, and animal body parts – and asked me if I wanted to try “cuy” (pronounced coo-ey). I didn’t know what that was.

“In the US, it’s a pet. Small, cute. Here it’s a popular food.” A guinea pig. 

Yessi called her mom, who called her aunt, who called Yessi and told her that the best cuy was located a few miles outside Cajamarca. We hailed a 3-wheel rickshaw taxi and set off, traveling 20 minutes to a restaurant in the countryside.

Upon arrival, the waiter asked if I wanted the full or half cuy; I ordered the half. 20 minutes later he brought out a deep-fried guinea pig that was split vertically below the neck, its open mouth showing spiky little teeth and entire right side – paws, claws and all – still intact. 

It was greasy and delicious, like fried chicken but less meaty and easier to eat. I scarfed it down with rice and potatoes. 

Back in Cajamarca, we returned to the family’s home where there was now a grandfather – a warm 80+ year-old man who struggled to speak without wheezing – his 5 kids, and 2 of their spouses. It was the first time the whole family had been together in over a decade. We drank the traditional soda – Inca Cola, now owned by Coke – along with pisco, the Peruvian liquor. Yessi was the only one who spoke English, but I could understand enough of the family’s Spanish to know that they were hilarious. They taught me curse words and told me about eating iguanas while on military deployments in the Amazon. 

Late at night we returned to the grandfather’s house, which he had built by hand more than 60 years prior. Set back off a busy street, there was an interior courtyard lined with a 2-floor rickety wooden building. There was no heat, internet, or insulation, and the bathroom was outside. Other than adding electricity, the house hadn’t changed since the 1950s. All the grandfather’s children had been born there.

The night air was cold and quiet. The next day, I’d head deeper into the mountains, and from there into the Amazon.

For pictures and videos of the above, check out Frost's Instagram. He's posting related content there over the coming weeks. 

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

 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you feel nostalgic about paying for things in cash?
Yes: 27.9%
No: 72.1%

Yesterday's Question:

Does listening to an audiobook count the same as reading a book? Explain.

Jennifer from Asheville: "Definitely! My daughter has dyslexia and struggles to read books that are her grade level. She loves to listen to books on Audible, sometimes while following along in the paperback. Her literary world opens up!"

Andre from Maine: "Absolutely not. Reading a book requires taking time from your day to spend wholly on learning and incorporating new information. Listening to an audiobook can be multitasked with driving, working, or other activities, and so does not necessitate the focus needed for sitting down with a book."

Carlisle from St. Louis: "Yes it does. But when people ask me if I've read a book I'm honest and tell them "I've heard the book."

  RocaNews Shoutout

Thanks to a Roca Rider Dhruva who referred 10+ friends to The Current! As a thank you, we asked who they would like to shoutout, and they said: "Shoutout Tivey, for putting me on this newsletter!" 

From the whole Roca team, let's ride Dhruva and Tivey!!
Today's Clue (Day 2 of 4):
What good can come from tax evasion?
Day 1: Will you still love me when I'm forever young and beautiful?

We're back this week with Roca's classic Treasure Hunt. The correct answer to this week's Hunt will be a landmark in the United States. Thursday's newsletter will contain a bonus clue, which is automatically unlocked by referring 2 people to this newsletter. In total there will be 5 clues about 1 landmark.

This week, first place takes home $250; second and third place take home $100 each. 

You get one guess, which you submit by replying to a newsletter with a Google street view screenshot.


 Final Thoughts

We hope everyone has a nice Wednesday! Like much of the world, we're facing a major heatwave in NYC. Unlike in England, though, where people are suffering without AC, we're battling over how cold to make our office. If this newsletter switches from "The Maxes" to just "Max," it will have something to do with that.    

- Max and Max

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