🌊 America’s Lunch Makeover
Why officials are turning on Lunchables, Aaron Rodgers has spoken... and a wild ride to power
In a year where a movie called Everything, Everywhere All at Once won Best Picture, you might wonder what goes into a movie title. Well, here are some famous almost movie titles: Despicable Me was almost Evil Me; The Breakfast Club was almost The Lunch Bunch; and Pretty Woman was almost 3,000 — which sounds like a great sequel to 300.
Regardless, shoutout to the geniuses behind "Sharknado 5: Global Swarming."
In today's edition:
Why officials are turning on Lunchables
Aaron Rodgers has spoken...
A wild ride to power
🔑 Key Stories
Big News for Lunches
School cafeterias will soon offer Lunchables
Because of their high levels of sodium, saturated fats, and preservatives, Lunchables – created by US company Kraft Heinz – have never met guidelines that dictate what can be sold in school cafeterias
On Tuesday, though, Kraft Heinz announced it updated 2 Lunchables recipes to make them healthier. They now fit the guidelines and will be sold in schools
Also, new government data show sandwiches are the US’ #1 source of sodium and saturated fats, accounting for ~20% of daily sodium and 19% of saturated fat intake. 47% of Americans eat a sandwich daily, per the government
The 2 modified Lunchables are the Turkey and Cheddar Cracker Stacker and Extra Cheesy Pizza. Both have been changed to have “more proteins and whole grains,” fewer “saturated fats and sodium,” and a “larger serving size," said Kraft Heinz
Concerns about Credit Suisse (CS) are growing
International banking regulations categorize CS, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, as “systemically important.” It has $580B in assets, more than double the $209B of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which collapsed last week
On Tuesday, CS said it found “material weaknesses” in its financial reporting, i.e. shortcomings in how it had reported its finances. While it said those wouldn’t have a “material” effect on its finances, it caused major investors to back out, tanking its stock
To stem a crisis as bets on CS’ failure surged, the Swiss government said Wednesday it would support CS in a crisis
While Credit Suisse’s struggles aren’t directly linked to the SVB collapse, they come amid fears of a broader financial crisis. A JPMorgan executive said Credit Suisse may be the “tip of the iceberg” threatening the global economy
Researchers Map Fruit Fly Brain
Researchers fully mapped the brain of a complex organism – in this case, a fruit fly – for the first time
Brains contain neurons, or nerve cells that send signals and control what humans think, feel, and do. They communicate through spaces called “synapses”
Past researchers have fully mapped the brains of earthworms and the larvae of a sea squirt, but those are relatively simple and have limited practical use
A new study produced the first 3D-printed map of a fruit fly’s brain, which is the size of a poppy seed. In total, it identified 3,016 neurons and 548,000 synapses
Scientists say this could lead to future brain mapping
Fruit flies’ brains are vastly more complex than past mapped brains: Fruit flies can learn, navigate complicated landscapes, process smells, and weigh risks and benefits. Researchers say this new 3D model could open the door to future research on how the brains learns, process memories, and responds to stimuli
EPA Limits “Forever Chemicals”
On Wednesday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set limits on “forever chemicals” in water
PFAS are a family of 14k chemicals that are used to make products resistant to heat, stains, and water. They are nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they don’t naturally decompose
One CDC study found that 97% of Americans have traces of PFAS in their blood. Some studies have linked them to cancer, deformities, and immune issues
In 2016, the EPA recommended that PFAS in water doesn’t exceed 70 parts per trillion; on Tuesday, it proposed limiting PFAS to even lower levels
Unrelated to the EPA’s new rules, on March 1, the University of Florida published a study that tested 21 toilet paper brands and found PFAS in all of them. A union representing the toilet paper industry denied its companies use PFAS in their products; the researcher said the “evidence seems to suggest otherwise”
$2000 Shopping Spree Giveaway!
Attention Roca riders! We teamed up with The Gist and several others in the newsletter community to provide one lucky winner with a $2000 gift card to a brand of your choice
The contest is open from March 13-29, and one winner is announced on March 30
All you need is an email and your name
When you sign up, expect to get welcome emails from several other newsletter operators (all friends of Roca!)
*See full contest official rules, terms & conditions on the landing page of above link. No purchase necessary.
R-r-r-Rodgers and the Jets: Aaron Rodgers told "The Pat McAfee Show" that he wants to play for the New York Jets next year. A trade still isn't finalized
Quentin's last hurrah: Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is prepping to direct his final movie this fall. The script's name is "The Movie Critic," but plot details are unknown
C'est la stink: Trash is piling up in the streets of Paris amid a trash collector strike. The workers are striking over the increase of the pension age from 62 to 64
New canine king: French bulldogs have dethroned Labradors as the most popular US dog breed, per the American Kennel Club. Labs held the top spot for 31 years
Don't cry for milk, Argentina: Inflation in Argentina has surpassed 100% for the first time since the 1990s, meaning the prices of goods have doubled since 2022
California freezin': Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe in California has frozen over for the first time in at least 30 years. The area is still covered with snow
Do Your Kids' Vitamins Need An Upgrade? Get 50% off your first Hiya order* *Sponsored Post
👇 What do you think?
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Reply to this email with your answers!
See yesterday's results below the Wrap!
🌯 Roca Wrap
When 29-year-old Gavin Buckley arrived in Annapolis, Maryland he was an Australian backpacker with $200 in his pocket. Today, he’s the mayor of the city, which is Maryland’s capital.
Buckley and his twin brother were born in South Africa in 1963. His family bounced around before settling in Perth, Australia when Buckley was 8.
Then tragedy hit: Buckley’s father died from cancer, and at age 14, his twin died unexpectedly. Buckley struggled academically and 2 high schools expelled him for poor attendance. He tried working at Hungry Jacks, Australia's version of Burger King, but got bored.
So at age 20, he headed to Europe.
There he developed a money-making idea with some friends: Spraying beachgoers with suntan oil in southern France.
Dubbed the “Sunbusters,” the group wore white jumpsuits and used repurposed fertilizer sprayers to apply lotion on people for $1.If people asked for specific SPF numbers, like 5 or 10, "We said, 'Oh sure' and then pump the sprayer, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and then spray them," he said.
After that summer, he went to Africa. There he hopped onto a 32-foot boat and sailed for 20 days until he reached Florida in 1985.
Unable to replicate the Sunbusters' success in Florida, he traveled up the coast to Annapolis where he found work. He didn’t know it, but that would be his last move.
Buckley became involved in the food scene and opened a coffee shop, followed by restaurants. Those endeavors revitalized parts of the city and his recognition soared. He met his future wife, married, and had kids. He became a naturalized US citizen in 2009.
But after missing payments on local permits, the city came after him. “A license I forgot here and there, that doesn't make you a bad person," he said. "There's a little bit of [missing rules] in you if you are Australian.”
Then he covered the side of one of his restaurants with a mural of the Buddha and the caption “Agony and Ecstasy Lives Together in Perfect Harmony.”
The city – known for its 17th and 18th historical architecture – said he violated its historic preservation code and took him to court. Buckley won, and realized his political ambition: Help the city get with the times.
"Anything new is a threat in this town," he said. "We have to celebrate our history, but you can't get stuck in it."
With no prior political experience, he ran for mayor of Annapolis in 2017.
His critics said he ran to drive business to his restaurants and that he didn’t respect the city’s rules, noting his clashes over business licenses and historical codes.
But he won. In the Democratic primary he beat a longtime politician after unusually high voter turnout, then ousted the Republican incumbent mayor with 61% of the vote.
In office, he’s fought to relax zoning codes to build new restaurants and pedestrian-friendly spaces in historical zones, among other reforms. He won re-election with 72% of the vote in 2021.
In an interview last November, he said he wants to be the “GMOAT” – the “greatest mayor of all time.”
There’s no telling if he’ll be that, but he may have one of the greatest stories of all time.
If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!
🌊 Roca Clubhouse
Do you consider yourself a frequent traveler?
Lindsay from Wisconsin: “Yesterday, I purchased a medium sized head of cauliflower for $6. Today, I'm suffering from buyer's remorse.”
Renee from Ohio: “The added cost of seats and bags to your flight price on some "budget" airlines. I prefer not to fly those airlines anymore. Give me the lump sum with my seat and bag included, chances are it's the same amount or less than the "budget friendly" airlines.”
Mike from Texas: “Concert ticket fees.”
🧠 Final Thoughts
We're stoked for March Madness today. Both of us are convinced we have perfect brackets, but that can't be the case for long: Max F has UVA winning; Max T has Alabama. If you're looking for us but can't find us at the office, we're watching the games with a $5 marg at the local Applebee's.
—Max and Max