RocaNews - 🌊 What the Cluck

July 26, 2022

Yesterday we asked you to share a false stereotype about your generation, and the answers came pouring in. We quickly learned that not all Gen Z'ers are entitled and not all Boomers are named Karen. We'd like to say that no stereotype survived the exercise, but one Millennial had an email signature of "Harambe In Memoriam."

In today's edition:

  • Bad day for Big Poultry
  • Another Goodfella gone
  • Frost takes the River
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 Key Stories

Feds Go After Big Poultry

The US Justice Department is suing major poultry producers for long-term abusive labor policies

  • The lawsuit targets poultry producers that account for 90% of all US poultry jobs. It accuses the companies of sharing information about workers’ wages with each other so that they could coordinate to pay employees less
  • The lawsuit includes an offer for an $84.8M settlement to reimburse thousands of workers
  • This suit is the latest in a series of efforts by the Justice Department to fight allegedly noncompetitive business behavior impacting workers or consumers

Russia Further Cuts Gas Supplies

Russia further cut gas exports to the EU

  • Russia supplies ~40% of the EU’s natural gas, which is used to heat buildings, generate electricity, and more. Last week, the EU accused Russia of using energy to blackmail the EU for its support of Ukraine
  • In recent months, Russia has cut exports via a major pipeline to 40% of pipeline capacity. Monday it said it would drop exports further to 20%. Russia blames sanctions; the EU says that doesn’t make sense
  • Last week, the EU proposed a plan to reduce gas consumption in preparation for a “likely cutoff” of Russian gas. This cut raises fears of an energy crisis
Dig Deeper
  • Europe's natural gas futures, or the expected cost of gas in the future, jumped by as much as 10% following news of the newest pipeline cuts. In some areas, gas prices have risen by over 100% over the course of the year. EU leaders worry that shortages will push the EU into a recession

Hepatitis Mystery Solved?

UK scientists believe that a surge in hepatitis cases among young kids is being caused by a lack of exposure to the common cold during the pandemic

  • Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It is typically caused by certain viruses, alcohol abuse, ibuprofen overuse, or genetic defects
  • Since May, the WHO has recorded 1,010 cases in children from 35+ countries with no known cause
  • Per 2 studies, a common cold-related virus was found in 96% of the children. The authors believe that a lack of exposure to that virus amid lockdowns is causing unusual reactions, including hepatitis
Dig Deeper
  • Since cases started to appear, around 5% of the children infected worldwide have needed liver transplants, and 22 children have died. In the US, cases of hepatitis caused by infection are most prevalent among 30-59 year-olds

Energy Department Backs Batteries

The US Energy Department is loaning $2.5B to a General Motors (GM) joint venture to build battery plants

  • The money is part of an $18B US government program to finance electric vehicle (EV) development and break the US’ dependence on China for lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power EVs
  • It’s the same program that has been used by Tesla, Ford, and Nissan to develop their EV tech
  • GM — which owns Chevy, GMC, Cadillac, and Buick — says the loan will enable it to open new lithium-ion electric car battery plants in Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee
popcorn Popcorn
  • RIP, good fella: Actor Paul Sorvino died at 83 in Jacksonville, FL of "natural causes." He starred in Goodfellas and Law & Order
  • I'll take "2 hosts" for $400: Jeopardy! will reportedly continue with dual hosts Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings splitting duties
  • Secretary of Monkeypox: The White House is expected to announce a Monkeypox coordinator. There are 3,487 confirmed cases in the US
  • Adios, Choco Taco: Klondike, which is owned by Unilever, is discontinuing its famous Choco Taco after 40 years of selling it
  • Saintly Cup: An NHL player baptized 3 of his children in the Stanley Cup, becoming the 4th player to use the trophy for baptism
  • Prodigal sermon: A Lamborghini-driving New York City preacher was robbed of $1M worth of jewelry while livestreaming a sermon

finger What do you think?

Today's Poll:
More iconic American family?
Kennedy family
Rockefeller family

Today's Question:
What is a non-negotiable household rule for you?

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. 

Frost is also posting videos and pictures of the trip on his Instagram

It was 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning when my cargo boat set off down the river from the port city of Yurimaguas, Peru. Our destination was a town called Nauta, 36 hours downriver, where the Amazon river begins. 

The Amazon is the product of dozens of other rivers. I was on the Huallaga, which flows into another river, the Marañón. Where the Marañón merges with yet another river, the Ucayali, the Amazon begins. It then runs for 4,345 miles to the Atlantic Ocean – further than any other river in the world. 

The Amazon rainforest surrounds the Amazon and its tributaries. It's about 2/3rds the size of the US and spans 9 countries. The first Spanish soldier to explore the area coined the name "Amazon" after waging battle against a group of indigenous women soldiers. In Greek mythology, there were female warriors known as Amazons – so he chose that name. 

5 minutes after pulling away from the port, we were surrounded by the Amazon. The forest stretched as far as we could see – which wasn’t far, given the height and density of the trees. The water was brown. That was the view for most of the next 36 hours. 

In Peru and Brazil, there are 2 types of public transport on the river: The lancha – the slow, dingy cargo ship that makes frequent stops in villages – and the rápido – the direct, passenger-only, high-speed boats. The rápido generally takes a third the time to travel the same distance as the lancha. 

I was on the lancha because I wanted the experience. My fellow passengers were on it either because they couldn’t afford the rápido, or because they were transporting goods they couldn’t bring on the rápido. There were 50 or so passengers, all of whom slept on hammocks strung across the boat’s only open area. There was no place to store luggage, so bags sat out in the open. I had a lock on mine.  

Benches ran the length of the boat, whose sides were open but had tarps that could be unrolled to deflect the elements. It would periodically become excruciatingly hot and humid, then the sky would open up and it would cool off after a brief downpour. 

Everyone had to bring their own hammocks. We also had to bring our own utensils and plates, which I didn’t know. Thankfully 2 German passengers – the only tourists I had seen since leaving Peru’s capital – lent me an extra bowl of theirs. They were 18 and 19 years old, and were taking a year off after high school. They had just spent 6 weeks alone in the mountains of Ecuador. 

Speakers along the ceiling blasted Peruvian music throughout the trip, and a TV at the front of the boat played Peruvian music videos on repeat. At night, it showed a bootlegged version of Gladiator with Spanish dubs. 

Mealtime resembled a prison: At the back of the boat was a small kitchen, where 2 women prepared our meals. They’d ring a bell, and people would line up with their bowls. The women would reach through protective bars that separated them from us, then ladle out servings of watery soup or stew with rice. For meat, the cooks would grab chickens out of the coop, snap their necks, and serve them to us minutes later. The food wasn’t good. There was also no water or coffee available. 

I spent the time reading and chatting with my fellow passengers, all of whom were extremely nice. Besides the 2 German tourists, everyone was Peruvian and no one spoke English. I hit it off with one guy in particular – a traveling hat salesman named Alberto – who spent hours asking me about the US and telling me facts about Peru and the Amazon. Before leaving, he gifted me with an LA Dodgers cap that I wore the rest of the trip. 

Occasionally, I’d climb a ladder onto the roof for better views, although that was where they stored the chickens and it smelled disgusting. Several passengers’ dogs were also up there, chained to a railing for the duration of the trip. 

I was comfortable sleeping on my hammock, although every couple hours we’d pull into a village, the lights would turn on, and the music would blast as workers unloaded goods. At one point, I woke up and wondered why it smelled so bad. The next morning, someone told me that they had unloaded hundreds of chickens – dragging their crates right through the sleeping area – at 2 AM. 

We stopped in dozens of villages along the way, most little more than a smattering of huts along the river. The places were so remote that I struggled to believe people lived in them. They had no roads and some didn’t have electricity. At each place, locals would line up ahead of our arrival – some to unload their shipments, others to watch the docking, and the remainder to sell us stuff. Women would file into the hammock area to hawk water, juices, fruits, popcorn, rice, and grilled fish.

When I woke up on the second day, my stomach was churning. I ended up spending much of the next 8 hours squatting over the only men’s toilet, which was filthy. I passed on breakfast and lunch. 

In the afternoon, though, a troupe of women ran onto the boat, selling various types of grilled fish. I noticed that one of them looked scaly; then I noticed its claws. “Caiman,” the lady said – crocodile – offering a hunk of meat, scales still attached, for $1. I had taken some medicine a few hours earlier and my stomach was feeling better. And I was hungry and wanted to try the croc. 

So I scarfed it down. It tasted like a mix of chicken and fish, meatier than fish but lighter than poultry with a nice grilled taste. 

2 hours later, our boat reached our destination. By that point, my stomach was rumbling. I’d regret eating that caiman. 

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

 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Which once-every-four-years sporting event do you prefer?
Summer Olympics: 67.8%
World Cup: 32.2%

Yesterday's Question:

What is one stereotype about your generation that you don't find to be true?

Chris from Georgia: "Gen X - We have been stereotyped by being "negative" cynics which I think is unfair.  Questioning things is not negative but instead responsible.  Opposite of cynic is being naïve so I will take being a cynic every day."

Anne from New Mexico: "That we are all senile, out of touch, and know nothing of what's happening now. Untrue. Most of us have all our marbles, watch current streaming shows, listen to or watch podcasts and current music, are on at least one social media platform, and enjoy watching reels"

Amber from Alabama: "I hate the stereotype that millennials all have to be "special snowflakes" who can't handle disagreements. Especially when I read the Facebook comments from Boomers and Gen X when someone disagrees with their opinions"

Brandon from Chicago: "Gen Z here (1999), the majority of us are lazy and don't want to work. I can see where some of it comes from, mostly older people listening to the people that talk the loudest, but not a single person that I went to college with do not have a job at this very moment and aren't fully committed to it. I agree there are bad eggs that definitely do not want to contribute to the workforce in any way, but that's the same story in every generation. I think the laziness stereotype is mostly unfounded and centralized to a small minority."
Today's Clue (Day 1 of 4):
If I were an Angel, where would I fly to? Paradise, but CCR was there
We're back this week with our first music-themed Roca Treasure Hunt! The correct answer to this week's Hunt will be a music-related 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

Happy Tuesday, Roca Riders. Thanks for tuning in for another day of the news. Keep sending us your thoughts and feedback – positive or negative! We love reading it and it improves the newsletter. 

Have great days!

- Max and Max

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