RocaNews - 🌊 Fed is Fed Up

rocanews

December 16, 2021


One thing that's clear after Roca's first year is that the world is a fascinating place. Legacy news outlets may prefer to dwell on divisive and depressing stories, but we're blown away by the wild stories and knowledge we encounter each day. This isn't just the Red Bull talking: News is FUN!

The death of the disputed Kentucky Derby champ, Medina Spirit, last week rocked the racing world. Today's Wrap tells you what happened and why the sport's future is in doubt.

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Key Stories

inflation

No More Inflating!


Overview
  • The Federal Reserve (The Fed, US central bank) signaled it is taking a more aggressive approach in fighting inflation
  • One of the Fed's jobs is to limit inflation to 2% via control of interest rates and the money supply
  • The Fed will reduce its asset-buying program, which it launched to keep asset prices from falling during the pandemic, and suggested it will raise interest rates 3 times in 2022 
  • Raising interest rates makes borrowing more expensive, limiting demand and inflation. In a September meeting, half of Fed officials had predicted the Fed wouldn't need to raise rates until 2023

 DIG DEEPER 
The Fed's asset-buying program is now set to end in March. Between that and the potential interest rate hikes, the stock market boom that has taken place since 2020 may slow.

NFL Games in Doubt


Overview
  • So far this week, ~4% of National Football League (NFL) players – 75+ people – have tested positive for Covid, threatening the NFL's schedule
  • Compared to last season, when games were frequently canceled and rescheduled, this season has gone off largely as planned. With just 4 weeks left and cases spreading, the streak may end 
  • The Browns, who play this Saturday, have already placed 14 players on the COVID list this week 
  • The league does not require players to be vaccinated, and every day it tests those who aren't. It also makes them fly on separate jets, socially distance, and wear masks

 DIG DEEPER 
Between Monday and Tuesday, more NFL players tested positive than during any other 2-day period of the pandemic. Dozens of cases were also reported in the NBA and NHL, putting the big Christmas day games in doubt.

Volcanic Eruption Ends


Overview
  • A 3-month long volcanic eruption in Spain's Canary Islands has been silent since Monday, giving locals hope the eruption is over
  • Since September 19, a persistent eruption and earthquakes on La Palma island have destroyed about 3,000 buildings and 45 mi (73 kms) of roads, displacing thousands
  • The eruption made part of the island uninhabitable and expanded its surface area by 48 hectares (119 acres). Ash and volcanic lava buried fields and buildings 
  • Scientists say it is "improbable" that the eruption resumes. If that's true, the longest eruption in Canary Island history has ended

 DIG DEEPER 
“We cannot be 100% sure [the eruption is over], as the volcano has been playing a few tricks over the last weeks,” one professor told the Associated Press. “But many parameters have now subsided, and I think the volcano is indeed in decline now.” 

Toyota v. Tesla

Overview

  • Toyota will spend $35B in a push to compete with Tesla in electric vehicles (EVs)
  • Until now, Toyota had resisted a major bet on battery-powered EVs, instead promoting a mix of hybrids, EVs, and hydrogen-powered cars
  • Over recent years, though, rivals like GM and Volkswagen have poured billions into building their own EVs, and Tesla has become one of the world's most valuable companies
  • “I wasn’t interested in Toyota’s EVs until now. But now I’m interested in future EVs,” Toyota's president said

 DIG DEEPER 
Toyota will first focus on electrifying its high-end brand, Lexus. As EVs become cheaper, it will begin rolling them out in place of its standard Toyota fleet. The company did not commit to eliminating all non-EVs.

finger What do you think?


Today's Poll:
Better winter treat: Hot chocolate or Christmas cookies?
Hot chocolate

Christmas cookies


Today's Question:
How do you feel about jury duty? Idea for a better system?


Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's answers below the Wrap!

popcorn Popcorn

Culture & Sports 
  • Urban Meyer is OUT! The Jaguars head coach got the axe 13 games into his chaotic first season in Jacksonville
  • bell hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins), an activist and author best known for her works (40 books total) on feminism and race, died at the age of 69
  • Sir Lewis, we ride for you! Superstar F1 driver Lewis Hamilton was knighted on Wednesday, days after his championship heartbreak
  • Billie Eilish opened up about her history with porn, saying that it "destroyed [her] brain." The star singer started watching at age 11
 
Business
  • CEOs of major airlines were grilled in the Capitol on Wednesday over their possible mismanagement of the $54B in bailout money they got
  • Baby, he was born to cash out! Bruce Springsteen reportedly sold the masters to his music to Sony for a record $500M
  • An ex-McKinsey partner has plead guilty to insider trading. He bought call options ahead of an acquisition he advised on, netting $450k
 
Wildcard
  • A new study found that microbes (an organism of microscopic size, usually a bacterium) are evolving to eat plastic
  • Cheetos, we need answers! Suspicions are swirling that Flamin' Hot Cheetos are either discontinued or suffering from a supply shortage
  • Romania’s minister of innovation and digitalization has resigned after an investigation found that he faked his education credentials

Roca Wrap

A Newsletter Exclusive

medinaspirit

Last Monday, 3-yo Medina Spirit didn't seem himself at southern California’s Santa Anita racetrack. Near the end of the colt's 5-furlong workout (a furlong is 1/8 mile), he went down. The 3-year-old racehorse had suffered heart failure; he died soon after.
 
Set the clocks back to May 1, and Medina Spirit shocked the horseracing world in a different way – he defied 12-1 odds at Churchill Downs to win the Kentucky Derby by a half-length, making it the closest Derby since 2005. The victory didn't last long, though.
 
A little over a week after the Derby, Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance, betamethasone. A second positive test in June confirmed that Medina was, in fact, "juicing." Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit's trainer who we Wrapped this spring, appealed the ruling, arguing that the illegal substance was administered to Medina Spirit via an ointment for the dermatitis on one of his hind legs. He also argued that the tiny amount of betamethasone in his blood – 21 picograms (1 gram consists of 1 trillion picograms) – made a negligible difference.
 
There may not be a decision on the appeal until the end of the year. Regardless, though, the heat is turning up on horse racing.
 
Many – and not just PETA – allege the sport has a culture of animal abuse that prioritizes money over safety.
 
Running, particularly on oval tracks, can be brutal for a horse’s body. To prevent injury and internal bleeding, they are often given drugs, which can have painful side effects. Injuries that might sound manageable – like a broken leg – often end up with the horse being euthanized because its body can no longer bear the weight. Scattered regulation has made it difficult to ban substances that are bad for horses' health.
 
Between 700 and 800 horses die each racing season, some who die like Medina Spirit and others who are euthanized after injury. On the Santa Anita race track alone, 23 horses died in 2019, and another 9 in 2020.
 
Last December, the US Congress passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act over concerns about doping and on-the-track deaths. Also in 2020, a federal investigation culminated with charges against 27 individuals for a horse-doping conspiracy.
 
Bob Baffert, who turned Medina Spirit into his record 7th Kentucky Derby winner, has fallen under particular scrutiny. Since 2000, 74 horses have died under his care. In 2013, California regulators launched an investigation into him after 7 horses died over a 16-month period. They found no evidence of wrongdoing, however, and 2 years later, in 2015, Baffert trained American Pharaoh to become the 12th Triple Crown winner in history (the Triple Crown means winning horseracing's big 3 races: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes).
 
Yet some like Gail Rice – who helped Medina Spirit's mother give birth to the disputed champion 3 years ago – say the critics are wrong. She told the New York Post, "I don’t see how people can say that we’re abusing them. If they saw how much care these horses get they wouldn’t be saying that." She continued, "But there are still people saying the horse was doped up and that’s why he had a heart attack. That didn’t happen. His heart burst." 
 
Medina Spirit's necropsy, an animal autopsy, will be conducted at UC Davis, and final reports aren't expected soon. Regardless of those findings and the result of the Baffert appeal, in Medina Spirit, a giant was lost last Monday. From 12-1 odds to disputed champion, no fan of horse racing will ever forget this colt.

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

Of the below, who has never been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year?
  1. Adolf Hitler
  2. Greta Thunberg
  3. Steve Jobs
  4. Mahatma Gandhi
Find out the answer at the bottom of Roca Clubhouse.

wave Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Should everyone who visits space be considered an astronaut? 

Yes: 12.5%
No: 87.5%
 

Yesterday's Question:

Will the decline in religion reverse? Why?

Courtney from Dallas: "Religion’s decline will have temporary reversals, but these will be merely death spasms; long term it will continue its decline because human progress will result in our society abandoning beliefs in sky wizards and other superstitions. It won’t happen quickly, though, requiring many generations of children who are progressively less and less indoctrinated into delusions by families and schools."

Josh from Denver: "I’m actually under the belief that it will. The only groups that have positive birth replacement rate are people who are connected with a religious group. People who are trending towards secular beliefs are below the replacement rate. Therefore, those with religious beliefs should outnumber those with secular viewpoints in a generation or two."
 

General Feedback:

Greg from Grand Rapids: "I don't just anyone who goes to space should be called an astronaut. "Astronaut" should be reserved for someone who works on a spacecraft. You wouldn't call a passenger on a cruise ship a sailor."

Luís Filipe from Brazil: "OMG I'm a billion times happier now that I know you guys are named after the Pororoca from up north in my beautiful country of Brazil."

Heather wrote: "While the bill initially describing the United States Program to work with non-governmental agencies was passed in 1984; the Wings Program didn't start until 2004, when its first wings were first awarded to Mike Melvill."
 

20 Questions: 16-20

Every Friday, we ask the Roca Riders 20 questions and feature a few of our favorite answers. This week, however, we did a music-themed ratings edition and are showing an average of your responses.

16. The Office theme song
7.2

17. Karaoke night
6.4

18. Country music
5.3

19. Country music with a firepit going
6.2

20. American Idol
3.4
Games Answer(s):
3. Steve Jobs

Final Thoughts 


It's already Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday, the weekend, and another round of Roca 20 Questions.

Tomorrow's 20 Qs are particularly special: It's the 1-year anniversary of our first Roca 20 questions. We've asked them every week since, and they've only become more fun with time. 

So thanks, all, and stay tuned for the big day tomorrow!

-Max and Max

wave Today's Instagram Wrap is on the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and a $200,000 typo.
 
Thanks for reading! See you again soon!
As always, send thoughts and feedback to Max@Rocanews.com
Link
Website
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Written by Max Frost and Max Towey | Graphics by Billy Carney






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