🌊 Apple May Be a Gemini

Plus: Is intermittent fasting terrible for you?

New pollution report just dropped.

We’re going to distract from the fact that UVA — which may or may not be the alma mater of one half of the Maxes — lost by 25 on night one of March Madness and, instead, talk pollution.

The 2023 IQAir World Air Quality Report found that 99 of the 100 most polluted cities in the world are in Asia. It also found that the least polluted major city in the US is Las Vegas. Huh, interesting. So the next time you need an excuse to go to Sin City, just say it’s for fresh air.

In today's edition:

📱 Apple to use Google's Gemini?

🎬 New James Bond just dropped

🇺🇸 RFK Jr. Part 2

And so much more!

–Max, Max, Jen, and Alex


Negative No More

Japan’s central bank raised interest rates for the first time in 17 years, ending its era of negative interest rates

  • Negative interest rates mean that depositors are charged interest to store their money in banks and borrowers earn interest when taking out loans. The policy is intended to disincentivize saving and incentivize spending, borrowing, and investing

  • Japan, facing deflation (falling prices), implemented negative interest rates in 2016. Japan’s economic outlook has since improved, though, with stocks at an all-time high and inflation and wages growing

  • On Tuesday, Japan’s central bank raised interest rates to 0-0.1%, ending eight years of negative rates

Dig Deeper

  • Central banks began experimenting with negative interest rates after the Great Recession. Sweden was the first country to implement them, followed by other European countries and Japan

  • Economists are divided on whether negative interest rates worked, with different studies presenting conflicting results

  • Japan was the last country to raise its rates out of negative territory


The Simplest Way to Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration means more than just water. Hydration means giving your body the water and electrolytes it needs to function properly

  • Electrolytes, which include salt and other minerals like potassium and magnesium, are essential to maintaining the body’s balance of fluids in and around our cells

  • Most people think salt is bad — but most active adults often need more salt than they consume, along with other electrolytes

  • Robb Wolf, a biochemist, and Dave Warner, a retired Navy SEAL, found that increasing their salt intake improved their energy, sleep, and mental sharpness, leading them to create LMNT electrolyte mix

Dig Deeper


Apple to Use Gemini

Apple is negotiating with Google to bring its Gemini AI technology to the iPhone, Bloomberg reported

  • Apple reportedly plans to use its own AI for some iPhone functionalities and a third party’s for cloud-based ones, such as text or image generation

  • An Apple-Gemini deal could be a huge boost for Google, and shares of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, jumped 4.6% following the Bloomberg report

  • The deal comes amid criticisms both that Gemini is overly woke and that an existing deal, under which Google pays Apple billions to make its search engine the iPhone default, is anti-competitive

Dig Deeper

  • Apple recently held talks with OpenAI, Bloomberg reported, although details about those discussions are unknown

  • Any Apple AI deal likely won’t be announced until the summer


Intermittent Fasting: Bad for Health?

Preliminary data presented at an American Heart Association conference showed that people who restrict food intake to less than 8 hours a day were 91% more likely to die from heart disease than those who ate across 12-16 hours per day

  • Time-restricted eating, also known as intermittent fasting, is a dietary regimen that usually restricts eating to between four and 12 hours daily

  • The study, conducted by Chinese researchers, drew data from ~20,000 adults who completed dietary questionnaires. It found that among participants with cardiovascular disease, a time-restricted diet of no less than eight but less than 10 hours was associated with a 66% higher risk of death from heart disease or stroke

  • One researcher said the results mean that those with heart disease should be “extremely cautious” about restricting eating times. The study didn’t explain why the trend exists but found that those who fast had less lean muscle than those who did not – a possible factor

Dig Deeper

  • The study – which hasn’t been published – noted several limitations, including its reliance on self-reported dietary information

  • Nonetheless, one of the study’s authors called the results a wake-up call: “Even though this type of diet has been popular due to its potential short-term benefits, our research clearly shows that…a shorter eating duration was not associated with living longer”


Soccer Gets AI Treatment

Google’s DeepMind AI lab has developed a model that can suggest with high accuracy improvements to players’ corner kick positions

  • A corner kick is a method of resuming play in soccer in which a player kicks the ball from the corner of the playing field. It is considered a good goal-scoring opportunity

  • Per a study published in Nature Communications, the AI model, TacticAI, allows coaches to explore “alternative player setups for each corner kick routine,” allowing them to “select those with the highest predicted likelihood of success”

  • Experts at Liverpool F.C., one of England’s top soccer clubs, favored the AI suggestions over existing corner kick strategies 90% of the time. That shows that the model “readily provides useful, realistic and accurate” tactics, one of the study’s authors said

Dig Deeper

  • The model, developed by Google’s DeepMind lab, analyzed data from 7,176 corner kicks in the English Premier League, England’s top soccer league

  • Liverpool – which cooperated with Google for the project – did not comment on whether it already uses any of TacticAI’s suggestions

Some Quick Stories for the Office

🇺🇸 During an interview on a conservative radio show, Donald Trump said “any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion.” Per Pew Research Center, 70% of American Jews voted for Joe Biden in 2020

🎖️ The US identified the remains of an Alabama-born soldier, Noah C. Reeves, who died fighting the Germans in World War II

⚖️ SCOTUS cleared the way for Texas to enforce a law that will allow it to arrest and deport people who enter the state illegally

🇭🇰 Hong Kong passed a national security bill that criminalizes vaguely defined political crimes, such as treason and insurrection. Critics claim the bill will expose activists, journalists, lawyers, and more to criminal liability

🇧🇷 Brazilian police accused former President Jair Bolsonaro of falsifying his Covid vaccination status; a lawyer for Bolsonaro called that “absurd”

💰 The Republican chairman of the Texas State Board of Education divested $8.5B from BlackRock, citing the company’s alleged boycott of the fossil fuel industry


Weekly Debate

Most news companies repress ideas they don’t agree with. We are different. To prove it, we’re making this a place where people can have a free and open debate. Each week we lay out a debate on Monday and feature responses below, replies to those the following day, and so on.

This week’s Roca Votes asks: Is the dating market dominance of Match Group — the company behind 40+ dating apps including Tinder, Hinge and Match.com — concerning?

Reply to this email with replies to the below or additional thoughts!

It’s not the monopoly that’s the problem. I don’t think dating apps are an important enough service for that to be concerning. What’s concerning is that there are now so many dating apps, it’s now taboo to meet someone the “normal” way. And it’s allowed people to have such outrageous standards that “average” people are left behind. And since it’s weird to meet people in person, you have a large group of people that are just lost. And it may be controversial, but men bear the brunt of that problem

Zach from Pennsylvania

Owning all the major dating apps doesn't really give a free market opportunities. Plus those aps are not very fair. They want singles, especially single males, to buy subscriptions and stay on the apps for months at a time to get more money out of them. If they really worked would they still be in business since everyone would "match"...no pun intended. 


Full agree with Will. Economically these apps are meant to keep you there. If you find what you’re looking for, you’ll most likely delete the app and no longer pay them. With Match Group having basically a monopoly, where’s the incentive to make an app and a user-experience that actually provides results? Because they’re not in danger of losing their customer base to a different app that “works better”. Also agree with Zach that now it’s taboo to strike up (especially flirty) conversations with strangers so those of us who struggle with the largely monolithic dating app “formula” and culture are left with few other options.

“Recently single 28F” from Philadelphia replies to Zach and Will

I don’t see how algorithm-based matching is wrong. People who meet people on apps love them; those who don’t hate them. If an algorithm can’t find you a match from tens of thousands of possible suitors, then just maybe it’s the single person who could be the issue?

Blake from Toronto

What does Roca think?

If you’re single, are you currently using a dating app?

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What does Roca think?

If you're in a relationship, where'd you meet your partner?

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Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

👍 One thumb, everybody knows the rules: A 35-year-old British “substitute” food delivery driver bit off a customer’s thumb and pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm

📚 Homework is for babies: An Ohio man faces misdemeanor charges for allegedly making multiple threatening calls to his child’s school over the amount of assigned homework. He allegedly told the principal he “better put his big-boy pants on”

📲 Florida man catfish: A Florida man pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer and posing as a gay man on an online dating app as payback for the officer giving him a traffic ticket

🔫 A kick-ass choice? British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, known for his roles in “Kick-Ass” and “Bullet Train,” reportedly received an offer to replace Daniel Craig as the new James Bond

💰 “Do you take Kohl’s cash?” Sagee Manor, a 40-acre mountaintop estate outside of Highlands, North Carolina, hit the market for $49.99M, shattering the state’s previous listing record

✈️ Up, up, and away to jail: A Delta Air Lines pilot received a 10-month jail sentence for attempting to fly from Edinburgh to NYC while nearly two-and-a-half times above the aviation alcohol limit

RFK Jr. Part 2: The Controversy

This is part 2 of a 2-part Wrap on presidential candidate Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. You can read part 1 in yesterday’s newsletter.

In 2016, RFK Jr. was the headline speaker at Austin’s SXSW environmental festival. Eight years later, a boycott prevented him from speaking there.

What changed?

RFK claims vaccines came across his radar while he was delivering a series of lectures about coal-related mercury poisoning. A group of women kept attending those lectures and approaching him afterward, insisting he look at the link between mercury poisoning, vaccines, and autism.

RFK claims he did not want to do so because he was an environmentalist, not a health expert.

But RFK says one of those women, a psychologist from Minnesota, managed to find his home and drop off an 18-inch-thick stack of scientific studies about vaccines. “She pointed to that pile and she said, ‘I'm not leaving here until you read those,’” RFK said last year.

The woman’s son had been diagnosed with autism after receiving vaccines, and the US’ vaccine court had awarded her a $20M settlement.

The US has had a vaccine court – technically the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program – since 1988, two years after Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.

That bill was prompted by pharmaceutical companies’ warnings that lawsuits over their vaccines risked making vaccine production untenable. The government responded by creating the vaccine court, which shields pharma companies from lawsuits and has the government compensate people who suffer from vaccine side effects.

According to the vaccine court, “Most people who get vaccines have no serious problems. Vaccines, like any medicines, can cause side effects, but most are very rare and very mild.”

“In very rare cases, a vaccine can cause a serious problem, such as a severe allergic reaction. In these instances [the court] may provide financial compensation to individuals who file a petition and are found to have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine.”

The court had awarded $20M to the woman who approached RFK, and he said her story caught his attention.

Upon reading her pile, he “recognized that there was this huge delta between what the public health agencies…were telling us about vaccine safety and what the actual peer-reviewed published science was saying.” RFK thus dove into the world of vaccines.

RFK became convinced that vaccines were dramatically more harmful than the government and the pharmaceutical companies were acknowledging. He claimed that their components – such as aluminum – were harmful and driving rapidly rising rates of autism, asthma, and other health conditions.

At first, RFK’s ideas were widely disseminated: In 2003, The Washington Post even ran an essay entitled “Reaction” that was written by the woman who had given him the 18-inch stack.

RFK said parallels existed between his environmental work and his vaccine research.

He had long accused coal and oil companies of “capturing” the Environmental Protection Agency, by which he meant that they had come to control the agency that was supposed to be regulating them.

He alleged that pharmaceutical companies had done the same by using their power to craft the Food and Drug Administration’s agenda.

The government, companies, and medical establishment accused RFK of peddling conspiracy theories that risked undermining support for vaccines, which they all attributed with underpinning a steep rise in life expectancy over the last 60 years.

RFK’s criticism of vaccines and allegations that Big Pharma and the government were cooperating to conceal the truth led to widespread criticism by public health officials.

He became known as an “anti-vaxxer,” hurting his credibility and visibility.

Yet on some issues, like the environment, he remained a widely respected figure: As recently as 2016, he headlined SXSW and did an extended Vanity Fair interview that didn’t mention vaccines once.

Covid changed that.

RFK alleged that pharma companies were working with the government to profit off the pandemic and that vaccines were part of their effort to do so.

He took a long-time feud with Dr. Fauci public, publishing, “Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health,” a book that alleged Fauci and Gates had used “their control of media outlets…to flood the public with fearful propaganda about COVID-19…and to muzzle debate and ruthlessly censor dissent.”

One “anti-disinformation” advocacy group claimed that RFK was one of a dozen people responsible for spreading 65% of anti-vax content online; Instagram banned him for “repeatedly sharing debunked claims,” while Facebook banned his non-profit.

Yet as RFK faced ever-mounting criticism, he tapped into a growing segment of the American population that had lost trust in the media, government, and corporations during the pandemic.

Last April, he declared his candidacy for president.

RFK says vaccines are not his focus: “I’m not running on vaccines. The only time that I will talk about vaccines is if somebody asks me about it,” he said last year. Instead, he’s promising to crack down on corruption, which he says has turned the government into a vehicle that is advancing, rather than checking, corporate power.

He says Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Banks, corporate media, and the military-industrial complex are dictating the government’s policies and hollowing out of the middle class.

And polls show up to 15% of Americans are planning to give him their vote.

Reply to this email to let us know what you think!

Final Thoughts

Is anyone else’s March Madness bracket already destroyed? If you’re still going strong, let us know who you have winning it all. What are the biggest upsets that you predict?

Let us know!

— Max, Max, Alex and Jen