🌊 America Gets Back Its Crown JUUL

Plus: The Michigan man license story gets crazier!

So… don’t go chasing waterfalls?

Roca Nation, it’s Friday, and China’s tallest waterfall may be a giant lie. A hiker climbed the Yuntai Mountain Waterfall and discovered that ~gasp~ a giant pipe was pouring out water at the top! He posted the video online (snapshot below), causing an uproar in China. Park officials are now saying that they made the “small enhancement” during the dry season to ensure that visitors would feel their trip was worthwhile.

Well, folks, we haven’t been this disappointed since the chubby kid deflated the Pyramid of Giza in Despicable Me. Kidding, we know that was fictional — aliens would never trick us like that…

🏏 Is the US a...cricket country?

🗳️ Literal dead man wins Congressional primary

📱 Could D-Day happen today? Your answers!

KEY STORY

Michigan Driving Case

A judge revealed that Corey Harris – the Michigan man who was driving during a virtual court hearing over a suspended license – never had a license at all

  • Harris appeared at his virtual court date in May while pulling into a doctor’s office. “Mr. Harris, are you driving?” the judge, Cedric Simpson, asked in a viral video. “Actually I’m pulling into my doctor’s office, actually, so just give me one second,” Harris responded

  • “I don't even know why he would do that,” the judge said in the video. He revoked Harris’ bond and ordered him to turn himself in that evening; Harris complied and spent two nights in jail

  • However, local media then reported that in 2022, Harris’s license suspension had been rescinded. Harris called it a “very embarrassing” mistake by the court, implying he was wrongfully charged

  • On Wednesday, though, the judge overseeing the case revealed that Harris never had a driver’s license in the first place. Harris has since returned to jail and has an appointment scheduled to get his learner’s permit

Dig Deeper

  • Harris "never had a Michigan license, ever...[and] never had a license in the other 49 states and commonwealths that form up this great union,” the judge said

  • The judge also revealed that there was a warrant out for Harris’ arrest over a 2015 case related to driving on a suspended license

  • Harris’ lawyer said she was “shocked” that Harris never had a license, saying that it “should be something of a lesson for all of us…Handle your business”

KEY STORY

US Stuns Pakistan

The US men’s cricket team defeated Pakistan in one of the sport’s greatest-ever upsets

  • Cricket is a bat-and-ball game popular in the UK and former British colonies. In Pakistan and India, it’s the most popular sport. Players bat like in baseball and try to score more runs than the other team

  • The men’s T20 World Cup, a major international cricket tournament, is currently ongoing. Pakistan – a former champion – was a favorite to win

  • In a shock result, though, the US – not considered to be a major contender – defeated Pakistan in overtime. Pakistan – which plays India, a major rival, next – now faces the risk of elimination

Dig Deeper

  • The US’ victory follow one over Canada and puts it in good position to advance

  • The US captain called the win a “big achievement,” adding, “Beating Pakistan, and playing for the first time, the way we played today I'm really proud of the boys”

  • Many of the US players are not professionals: One player is an IT professional at Oracle


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KEY STORY

FDA Rescinds Juul Ban

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rescinded its Juul ban

  • The FDA banned Juul in 2022, citing unresolved safety concerns. Although the FDA stayed its order, meaning it let Juul stay on the market, the decision almost caused the company to collapse

  • On Thursday, the FDA rescinded its order banning Juul. The ruling doesn’t resolve all of Juul’s regulatory issues, but means that its products will stay on the US market for the foreseeable future

  • Juul is currently preparing a new vape that uses an app to verify its user’s age

Dig Deeper

  • At its peak in 2018, Juul Labs controlled 70% of the US e-cigarette market. It then faced thousands of lawsuits, most alleging that it marketed its products to kids

  • In a statement, Juul said it looks forward to “re-engaging with [the FDA] on a science- and evidence-based process”

  • "We remain confident in the quality and substance of our applications and believe that a full review of the science and evidence will demonstrate that our products [are safe],” it added

KEY STORY

Starship Achieves Soft Landing

SpaceX’s Starship – the largest and most powerful rocket ever built – achieved its first “soft landing”

  • Thursday marked SpaceX’s fourth test of the Starship, which is designed to be reusable, like the Space Shuttle. While the Shuttle landed like an airplane, though, the Starship is designed to land vertically. In its first three launches, though, it failed to do so

  • The fourth launch took place on Thursday, and both the spaceship and its booster landed softly, meaning they didn’t crash or sustain major damage. NASA’s administrator said, “We are another step closer to returning…to the Moon…and looking onward to Mars”

Dig Deeper

  • The video is available here

  • The spacecraft and booster fired their engines to slow their descent, then fell harmlessly into the ocean, enabling them to be collected and reused

  • “Despite loss of many tiles and a damaged flap, Starship made it all the way to a soft landing in the ocean!” Elon Musk wrote on X

RUNDOWN
Some Quick Stories for the Office

🌊 World leaders congregated in Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Roughly 200 D-Day veterans – fewer than in the past – attended, most in their 90s or 100s. In his speech at the event, President Biden said Ukraine is fighting a “tyrant bent on domination,” calling it a “test of ages” from which “we will not walk away”

🔒 A judge ordered Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former strategist, to report to prison by July 1 to serve a four-month sentence. Bannon was convicted of contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify before the committee investigating January 6. Bannon said, “​​There’s not a prison built…that will ever shut me up”

🔫 President Biden said he would not pardon his son, Hunter, if he were convicted of gun-related crimes

🏢 The European Central Bank (ECB), which controls the euro, cut interest rates for the first time in five years. The cut – a day after Canada cut its rates – contrasts with the US Federal Reserve, which is expected to keep rates steady at its June meeting

🇵🇸 Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip, said the group wouldn’t agree to a peace proposal until Israel commits to a permanent ceasefire. “Hamas will not surrender its guns or sign a proposal that asks for that,” Sinwar reportedly told Arab countries trying to mediate a peace

🏛️ A conservative activist group sued Evanston, a Chicago suburb, over its first-in-the-nation reparations program. In 2019, Evanston became the first US government authority to offer reparations to black residents for past discriminatory housing policies. The conservative group is arguing that the city’s reparations program violated the Constitution by using race as a proxy to determine if city residents experienced discrimination

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🐊 Killer campaign: Rep. Donald Payne Jr. won the Democratic primary in New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District over a month after he died of a heart attack. Payne was running unopposed and had died after the ballot deadline

🚫 Drugs at a Phish concert? No way! The Sphere in Las Vegas indefinitely banned a Phish concert attendee after he posted an Instagram video of himself taking a bong rip inside the venue

🐐 Porzingoat: The Boston Celtics routed the Dallas Mavericks 107-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, sparked by a 20-point return performance from the injured Kristaps Porzingis

🍿 Influencer Incarcerated: Federal authorities arrested 24-year-old YouTuber Alex Choi for directing a YouTube video where two women in a helicopter repeatedly shot fireworks at a Lamborghini

🏒 Name Game: The NHL’s newest franchise is close to choosing its name. The six final options are Utah Blizzard, Utah Hockey Club, Utah Mammoth, Utah Outlaws, Utah Venom, and Utah Yeti

COMMUNITY

🇺🇸 Responses to D-Day Question of the Day: Today is the anniversary of D-Day. Would the US, UK, and Canada be willing to make the same sacrifices in a similar situation today?

As a service member, I signed up to fight and die for my country. Sadly, I believe most Americans would never do the same. Not necessarily the military, it’s definitely a personal choice, but many would do very little to aid our country in her time of need. After Ukraine was invaded, and many of its people fled, a poll was conducted asking Americans if our country were invaded, would you stay and fight? Many said that they would leave. I’m not surprised, considering the state of our once great nation. If you don’t love this country and aren’t willing to save it, then I suggest you find somewhere you would. You’ll be much happier in the end.

Andrew from Florida

I think if we were in a "total war" situation right now like we were in WW2, we absolutely would do the same thing, especially if we thought our way of life was at risk, as we did back then. America had an isolationist bent before both world wars, and it's fair to say we have one now with respect to getting involved with overseas conflicts. However if we faced the threat of an aggressive Russo-Chinese pact invading Europe and key partners in Asia, I think you'd see us come together again and rally.

Matt from Washington

Not only no, but hell no. We can’t agree on funding Ukraine’s defense. If American boots on the ground or sacrifices similar to WWII were required today all of Europe would be speaking Russian.

It’s a sad state of affairs in the U.S.

Kevin from Florida

ASK AND TELL
20 Questions

In honor of D-Day yesterday, today we’re doing a war-themed 20 Questions. Now I know what you're thinking... Roca's 20 Questions are supposed to be a pick-me-up! Why talk about war? To which we'd give you no answer and nervously scurry away.

But in all seriousness, we are eager to hear about your favorite war movies, favorite wars to study in school, favorite war songs, and so much more. Thank you to all the veterans or active-duty military members who've served our country or any of the great countries in which Roca readers reside. Have a great weekend!

Last Week’s 20 Questions:

The averages to last week’s Invention-themed ratings edition.

Sliced Bread (1928) - 7.2

Microwave (1945) - 8.3

LSD (1943) - 3.7

Pop Tarts (1964) - 4.7

Airplane (1903) - 9.2

Nail (~3,400 B.C.) - 9.0

Scrub Daddy (2007) - 4.5

Birth Control pill (1960) - 7.6

Refrigerator (1913) - 9.5

iPhone (2007) - 6.6

Digital camera (1975) - 7.8

World Wide Web (1993) - 8.5

Credit card (~1950) - 6.5

ATM (1967) - 7.3

Pillow Pets (2003) - 2.9

Ziploc bag (1950) - 7.2

DVD (1995) - 6.7

Internet (1983) - 8.5

Thrill ride / roller coaster (1884) - 5.8

Febreze (1996) - 4.5

EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

Roca Nation, don’t go chasing waterfalls. We really don’t want to see that Niagra Falls is a bunch of high schoolers in camouflage pouring Aquafina. Although if one of you got that on video, please send it. We need to break a story soon.

Have a great weekend and thank you for all of your thoughtful responses this week!

–Max and Max