RocaNews - 🌊 Oh My Lira

rocanews

December 21, 2021


Cursing has surged since the start of the pandemic. We can't tell if that's because of all the new stress, or a result of people playing more golf. Either way, we'll keep telling grandma that "wtf" means "welcome to Finland." Or is it Fiji?

Also, send in those National Geographic-worthy pics you took this year to Max@RocaNews.com! We got some great ones yesterday. We'll include highlights in our "photos of the year" section next week. 

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Key Stories

cover

Cursing Surge

Overview

  • A Wall Street Journal analysis found that the use of common curse words has surged since 2019
  • Data from social media platforms revealed that the uses of  f***, s***, a**hole, and related phrases have surged by between 27% and 41%, depending on the website
  • Another company's curse-word filtering software has found that the use of profane language has tripled in the past 1.5 years
  • Linguists suspect blurred lines during the pandemic are driving the trend: People's tongues have loosened because they spend far less time having to act formally in a work or school environment

 DIG DEEPER 
Are you cursing more now than before? Let us know in today's poll!

Ghislaine Maxwell Deliberation Begins


Overview
  • Jurors began deliberating in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. She faces up to 80 years in prison for grooming children for Jeffrey Epstein, her boyfriend and business partner
  • The judge told jurors that they can vote to convict if they believe Maxwell ignored or "consciously avoided" knowing about Epstein's crimes
  • In court, the prosecutor called Maxwell the "key to the whole operation" and a "grown woman who preyed on vulnerable kids"
  • Maxwell's lawyers have argued that the prosecution is using her as a scapegoat for Epstein, and that simply spending time with him was not a crime 

 DIG DEEPER 
Maxwell's lawyers said that there is no reason "a happy, educated women in her 30s would end her career as a facilitator of sex abuse," and that "Ghislaine is being tried here for being with Jeffrey Epstein. Maybe it was the biggest mistake of her life, but it is not a crime."

Peng Shuai Recants


Overview
  • Former Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai recanted her sexual assault allegation
  • Last month, Peng, a former world #1 tennis player, accused a former top Chinese official of sexual assault. She subsequently disappeared from public view
  • The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has canceled its events in China, pending proof of Peng's well-being
  • In an interview with a Singaporean newspaper, Peng called the situation a "misunderstanding." "I never said or wrote that anyone sexually assaulted me,” she said. “I’ve been very free all along.” Many doubt that she was speaking under her own free will

 DIG DEEPER 
Various videos of and statements by Peng have emerged in recent weeks, but the WTA and many countries, athletes, and organizations aren't convinced she is free. 

Crypto Brain Drain


Overview
  • The South Korean government is concerned that its brightest minds are leaving to work in the country's booming crypto industry
  • South Korean laws prevent high-ranking officials from leaving government to work in related private-sector jobs, however those laws don't apply to lower-ranking government workers 
  • As the government prepares to enact crypto regulation, companies have poached dozens of government officials, offering them lucrative jobs advising them on how to prepare for government regulation

 DIG DEEPER 
“Dozens of former public officials like policemen, Financial Services Commission/Financial Supervisory Service officials, advisers to lawmakers and prosecution officials have joined crypto exchanges in recent years to deal with regulators,” a crypto exec told the Financial Times.

finger What do you think?


Today's Poll:
Are you cursing more now than before the pandemic?
Yes
No


Today's Question:
What's the best angry/insulting phrase that isn't a curse word?


Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's answers below the Wrap!

popcorn Popcorn

Culture & Sports 
  • Aladdin, Hamilton, and Dear Evan Hansen are the latest Broadway musicals to cancel performances in the lucrative pre-Christmas week
  • The major US quidditch leagues (yes, they exist) are changing the name of the sport to distance themselves from JK Rowling
  • NHL freezes: The National Hockey League (NHL) will pause the season starting Wednesday due to its recent spike in Covid cases
 
Business
  • Taxpayer of the year: Elon Musk tweeted that he will pay $11B in taxes this year, making his perhaps the largest tax bill ever
  • Bottomless sales: Champagne sales are on track to hit a record high in 2021, at a $6.2B annual haul 
  • The $un$hine state: Of all US cities, Miami, Tampa, and Orlando saw the biggest increases in median 1-bedroom rent this year
 
Wildcard
  • A McDonald's in China installed exercise bikes at the counters so that customers can work out while they're wolfing down their food
  • A record 46.2M foreign-born people live in the US, with 1.5M new immigrants in 2021. 14.2% of the US population is now foreign-born
  • A NYPD lieutenant is now under investigation for getting a lap dance from a rookie female cop. Bystanders caught it on footage
  • Speaking of law enforcement, police in Ohio arrested a man for stealing a 58-foot pedestrian bridge last month

Roca Wrap

A Newsletter Exclusive

lira

Throughout the year, the Wall Street Journal keeps a running ranking of 115 possible investments. They range from commodities like coffee (the year’s best investment, up 85%), to currencies, bonds, and stock indexes.  

On this year’s ranking, one investment ranks far worse than the rest: Turkey’s currency, the lira. Since January 1, it has lost 52.5% of its value. This quarter alone, it’s down 34%. Why?

The short answer is that Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pronounced Er-do-wan), doesn’t believe in modern economic theory. 

During Erdogan’s first decade in power, the economy boomed: In 2003, when he took over, per-capita GDP was $4,800; in 2013, it was $13,000. As recently as 2017, the economy grew at 7.5%, more than triple the rate in the EU. 

As the economy grew, banks, households, and the government borrowed increasing amounts. Inflation picked up. Typically, central banks raise interest rates to slow inflation. Turkey’s did the opposite.

Interest rates are the price of a loan, and Erdogan wanted banks to offer cheaper loans so people could continue borrowing. Most prosperous economies have an independent central bank, so that decisions about interest rates are unaffected by politics. In 2019, when the head of Turkey’s central bank resisted Erdogan’s push to cut interest rates, Erdogan fired him. The central bank was no longer independent. 

Erdogan’s position has since hardened: He believes that lower interest rates will limit inflation – the opposite of what economic theory says. Since 2019, he has fired 2 other central bank heads and numerous other officials who disagreed with him. Investors have lost faith in Turkey, and have pulled their money out, pushing the currency down further. When a currency falls, imports – like food and energy – become more expensive, making goods in the economy more expensive (inflation).

Inflation is now officially at 21%, but independent groups say it’s above 50%. A dollar now costs 16 lira, up from 8.6 in June. 

So why does Erdogan believe what he does?

Erdogan and his supporters have said the currency’s collapse will help the economy by creating self-reliance: The country will produce its own goods rather than relying on imports, helping the economy in the long-run. He also claims that countries will buy more Turkish goods, because the weak currency makes them relatively cheaper.

Standard economists challenge that thinking, though, saying that companies won’t be able to afford the materials they need to operate, damaging the economy. People are now struggling to afford necessities, savings are losing value by the day, and wages are no longer enough for many to live. 

Some people attribute Erdogan’s beliefs to Islamic finance: Erdogan is a devout Muslim who has sought to make Turkey a less secular country. Islam forbids interest on loans, and Erdogan has called interest rates a “curse” and the “mother and father of all evil.”

With elections due in 18 months, theories abound within Turkey. “They either know that they're going to lose the election so they're trying to clear out as much money as possible, or they're genuinely trying to destroy the country,” one source says. 

“They keep taking [US dollars] offshore, then right before the elections they're going to bring all the [US dollars] back to Turkey and make it seem like the international investors are coming back,” says another.

Now an update: Last night, after we wrote this, Erdogan announced a new policy that would indirectly lift interest rates. The Lira jumped about 50% immediately. Nevertheless, it remains the worst investment of the year, per the Wall Street Journal.

If you have thoughts, let us know at Max@RocaNews.com and don't forget to share this Wrap with family and friends by using this link here!
Future Wrap ideas or requests? Let us know here!

think Games

Can you name the capital cities of the following countries?
  1. South Korea
  2. Brazil
  3. Germany
  4. Saudi Arabia
Find out the answer at the bottom of Roca Clubhouse.

wave Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Are the last 2 weeks of the year especially calming or stressful? 

Calming: 37.6%
Stressful: 62.4%
 

Yesterday's Question:

Your favorite news story of 2021?

Bill from Kansas: "That the U.S. (and other countries) are conducting a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics next year, as if that would make one bit of difference. I found it amusing."

Lauren from Anchorage: "My favorite was right after I started following Roca. It was the story about the bagel union in New York. I guess it wasn’t news. But, I loved it!"

David from Tennessee: "Drunk guy bites venomous baby snake because it but him, so it bit him several times in the face and now he’s dead. (Something to that effect. Look it up, it’s real.)"
 

General Feedback:

Mitch from Columbus: "There’s a peppermint shortage now?? STOP THE COUNT"

Cat from Long Island: "I just wanted to let you guys know I thought today’s wrap on Lia Thomas was one of your best yet. Finding unbiased news has been difficult, but I think your newsletter is both informative and fun. The trans athlete topic is really difficult to “debate” without sounding like a d*** (to be blunt)."

20 Questions: 6-10

Every Friday, we ask the Roca Riders 20 questions and feature a few of our favorite answers. 

6. How would you define "news"?
"R.O.C.A!"
"Whatever’s going on with Jennifer Aniston"
"Gosh, the news makes me frustrated. Everyone has an angle and it seems like they’re presenting a view designed to persuade. Except you! Thank you!"


7. How about "internet"? 
"House of memes"
"A bunch of connected wires invented by Al Gore"
"One of humanity's greatest inventions that was able to bring us closer together even though we have never felt more apart"


8. Your favorite Roca Wrap?
"I can’t pick one and you can’t make me"
"Too many to say- Pandas, Medina Spirit, Shein, Max's trip to Guatemala"
"The one about the Italian castrated male singers"


9. A topic we should wrap?
"The Uni-Bomber, or the American Logging Industry"
"How big beer companies can bribe bar owners to have their beer on tap"
"The possibility of a supervolcano erupting from Yellowstone. I did my undergraduate thesis on the Long Valley Caldera, so I do find volcanoes so fascinating!"


10. One word to describe how you feel about the metaverse...
"Confused"
"Intriguing"
"A slippery slope to Ready Player One, but as someone who likes video games, definitely intriguing"
Games Answer(s):
1. Seoul 2. Brasília 3. Berlin 4. Riyadh

Final Thoughts 


The good news is that we thought this was a jam-packed Current and we loved putting it together.

The bad? This January, we put all of our startup capital into the Lira. A guy from high school posted on Facebook that we should "buy the dip," though, so we're doubling down and expect to be out of the hole soon. 

Happy Tuesday, all!

-Max and Max

wave Today's Instagram Wrap is on the angler fish. Do you know how they mate? If not, you gotta read this Wrap.
 
Thanks for reading! See you again soon!
As always, send thoughts and feedback to Max@Rocanews.com
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Written by Max Frost and Max Towey | Graphics by Billy Carney






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