🌊 Boeing's Woes Leave Earth

Plus: Brain implant reduces British boy’s seizures by 80%!

Congrats to all the first-time champs!

Roca Nation, some congratulations are in order this morning: First to the Florida Panthers — and their 30 non-bandwagon fans — for winning their first Stanley Cup last night. Congrats also to the Tennessee Volunteers for winning their first-ever Men’s College World Series. And, finally, congrats to Wild Thang for winning the 2024 Ugliest Dog competition, his first Ugliest Dog trophy. If you would like to see Wild Thang, keep scrolling to Happy Hour. Wow, it looks like we go to the same barber!

🥾 Hiker was found after missing for 10 days in California

🐶 Meet the ugliest dog in the world

🇫🇷 France to swimmers: Let them eat s*it

–Max and Max

KEY STORY

Terror in Russia

A terror attack killed 20+ people in southern Russia

  • Dagestan is a mountainous, predominantly Muslim southern Russian state that faced frequent terror attacks until the mid-2010s

  • On Sunday, assailants in two of Dagestan’s largest cities used guns and Molotov cocktails to attack synagogues and Russian Orthodox Churches, then attacked police officers. The attacks killed 15 police, a Russian Orthodox priest, and at least four civilians

  • Government media said the attackers were directed “from abroad” and “adherents of an international terrorist organization” without providing additional details

Dig Deeper

  • The attacks come three months after one by ISIS-K – the Islamic State’s Central Asian branch – killed 145 at a Moscow theater

  • Vladimir Putin’s spokesman denied that Russia was returning to the days of the 2000s when Russia faced frequent terror attacks: “Russia is different now. Society is completely together,” he said. “Criminal terrorist incidents like this do not have support in society”

KEY STORY

10 Days’ Survivor

A hiker was found after missing for 10 days

  • On June 11, Lukas McClish, 34, set out for a 3-hour hike in northern California, equipped with only a small flashlight and a multipurpose tool. He ended up lost, though, unable to find his way home

  • McClish started walking in various directions, spending his days climbing and shouting. “I had a mountain lion that was following me, but it was cool. It kept its distance,” he told local media

  • After five days, his family reported him missing. Five days later, two park rangers with a sniffer dog heard his cries and found him in a remote canyon

Dig Deeper

  • “Each day, I go up a canyon, down a canyon to the next waterfall, sit down by the waterfall, and drink water out of my boot. I made sure I drank at least a gallon of water every day,” he said, adding that he slept on beds of leaves

  • His failure to show up to a family dinner sparked a search and rescue operation involving 300 emergency workers and drones

  • McClish called it “awesome” and “really humbling” to learn how many people had been concerned about his whereabouts

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KEY STORY

Brain Implant Working

A first-of-its-kind brain implant has reduced an epileptic British boy’s seizures by 80%

  • Oran Knowlson, 13, suffers from treatment-resistant epilepsy that can cause him to have 100+ daily seizures, some of which lead him to stop breathing. His condition requires him to be under constant supervision

  • In October, he underwent an experimental surgery that implanted electrodes in his brain and delivered a constant electrical pulse to treat the condition

  • On Monday, Knowlson’s family revealed that he has since experienced an 80% decrease in seizures

Dig Deeper

  • Surgeons drilled a hole in Knowlson’s skull and implanted electrodes deep in his brain. They wired the electrodes to another device, which delivers a constant but mild electrical stimulation into his brain

  • The stimulation intends to block the electrical pathways through which seizures happen

  • “The future looks hopeful, which I wouldn’t have dreamed of saying six months ago,” Knowlson’s mother said

KEY STORY

Stranded in Space

Boeing delayed the Starliner’s return for a third time, stranding two astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS)

  • In early June, Boeing’s Starliner completed its first manned launch and brought two NASA astronauts to the ISS, a major success for the company after years of delays that put it well behind rival SpaceX

  • The astronauts intended to spend a week on the ISS and return on June 13. However, technical errors on the Starliner have led Boeing to delay their return three times, most recently on Friday

  • A Boeing exec said, “It’s still not working like we designed it. So we’ve got to go figure that out”

Dig Deeper

  • Boeing has been competing with SpaceX to produce a spacecraft that NASA can use to carry astronauts into space. While SpaceX has been completing regular manned trips to the ISS in 2020, Boeing’s program fell over budget and behind schedule

  • The Starliner’s first manned launch, earlier this month, was meant to be a major success for the company. However, it now risks becoming a liability

RUNDOWN
Some Quick Stories for the Office

🏛️ A Swiss court found members of the Hindujas – the UK’s richest family – guilty of exploiting their house staff. The family brought workers from India, prevented them from leaving home, and paid them as little as $8 a day

🛰️ A Florida family is suing NASA after debris from the ISS crashed into their home, leaving a hole from their roof to their flooring

💣️ Russia blamed the US for a Ukrainian missile strike that reportedly killed five people on a beach in Russia-occupied Crimea. The attack allegedly used US-provided munitions that exploded over a crowded beach

🇦🇷 New data showed that Argentina entered a recession in the first quarter of 2024, during President Javier Milei’s first full term. Milei pledged to slash government spending and curb inflation, which has contributed to a shrinking economy that he believes is necessary to stabilize finances

👥 President Biden and California Governor Gavin Newsom issued statements criticizing antisemitism after 150+ people obstructed a Los Angeles synagogue on Sunday. Fights and shouting matches erupted before 60 police officers dispersed the crowd

COMMUNITY

🧠 Yesterday’s question: CNN recently announced that RFK Jr. won’t be in the presidential debate this week. Should he be on stage with Trump and Biden?

He should absolutely be in this debate. He met their established qualifications. He must have something to say that CNN doesn’t want said. Censorship is not freedom.

Fred from Undisclosed Location

No, RFK has no path to win. And he’s being controlled by a brain worm.

Mary from New Mexico

Of course he should be on that stage, but Biden and Trump are scared. They are physically and mentally incapable of discussing the real issues that Americans are facing every day.

Chris from Aurora

🤔 Today’s Question: If the Greeks had “The Iliad” and the Romans had “The Aeneid,” what is America’s great epic? Book, movie, or whatever.

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🦙 Introducing the lladie: A North Carolina golf course trained ~30 llamas to carry golf clubs and serve as caddies for golfers. The course says the llama caddies are now a tourist attraction

🏊 Let them eat s*it: Parisians have threatened to poop in the River Seine to protest the €1.4bn ($1.5B) expense of cleaning it for the 2024 Summer Olympics

🐶 Who’s the ugliest boy? A Pekingese from Oregon named Wild Thang won the 2024 World’s Ugliest Dog competition. It was his fifth time as a contender in the annual contest, which is held in California

Congrats to Wild Thang on winning ugliest dog in the world!

🇺🇸 ‘Merica: Team USA announced it would bring its own air conditioning units to Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics, shirking France’s climate-friendly cooling system

🚔 UNO reverse card: New Orleans police arrested a man for allegedly impersonating a police officer while attempting to conduct a traffic stop on an actual officer

ROCA WRAP

Tricks of the Trade

This is part two of our series on ultra-processed foods.

The food matrix represents food’s physical and chemical composition and how its molecules interact for digestion. When the matrix breaks down, it’s harder for the body to absorb that food’s nutrients. One effect of that breakdown is that people feel the need to eat more; another is that they get fewer of the foods’ benefits.

In 2019 – to explore these effects in practice – the NIH ran a study on a group of weight-stable adults. Over two weeks, half the participants ate ultra-processed diets while the other half ate unprocessed diets. Participants were allowed to eat as much of their designated foods as they wanted.

Researchers found that throughout, the group eating UPFs did not get enough fiber. Fiber triggers the release of GLP-1, the hormone that regulates appetite, and weight-loss drugs like Ozempic aim to mimic it. Irregularities in GLP-1 levels lead consumers to snack more and not feel full when they should.

For that and other reasons, the UPF group consumed 500 more calories per day than the group eating unprocessed foods, leading the NIH to conclude that limiting UPF consumption may help treat obesity and related conditions. The study also shed light on one characteristic of UPFs: While they can be eaten in moderation with few negative health effects, the foods do not lend themselves to moderation.

Other studies have since linked UPF consumption to diabetes, high blood pressure, and a range of other negative outcomes. While medical authorities have been trying to spread awareness of this among the public, that’s no easy task: In many instances, UPFs have been packaged and marketed so that consumers will mistake them for lightly processed alternatives.

One way is through labeling: In the US, “Certified Naturally Grown” labels are regulated, for example, but “naturally grown” is not. The word “healthy” is also entirely unregulated on packaging. A product made with “real fruit” could contain 99% sugar with a sliver of banana. “Organic” doesn’t mean a food is unprocessed: Organic sugar can be added to soda to make it organic.

Backing these efforts is a multi-billion dollar industry that seeks to make UPFs as appealing as possible. Because highly processing food enables vastly more – and cheaper – production, food companies have found it’s cheaper to make UPFs and advertise them as healthy than to sell “whole” foods.

Per Business Insider, major food corporations spent $7.5B in advertising in 2022: That’s $620M per month, or enough to recreate Star Wars: The Force Awakens – the most expensive movie ever produced – every three weeks.

There is a chance, though, that times are changing: Every five years, the US releases new dietary guidelines, and the US Department of Agriculture is currently running a multi-year study on UPFs whose results could shake up regulations for the industry. The next set of guidelines is due for release in 2025, so while UPFs are today’s most popular foods, they may not always be.

EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

Today is the 148th anniversary of Custer’s Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeated Custer and his army in their biggest victory of the Great Plains War.

Today is also the 15th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.

And that is right about where the George Armstrong Custer and Michael Jackson comparisons end. Have a great day!

–Max and Max