🌊 Doctor Cures Himself from Cancer

Plus: More lab meat bans? Holy cow!

Roca Nation, the word of the day is “petrichor.”

You know the earthy smell of the first rain after a dry spell? The rain that prompts your dad to mumble “Boy, we needed this” under his breath? Apparently there’s a word for that smell, and it’s “petrichor.” You might think such a pleasant smell deserves a nicer-sounding word than “petrichor” — which sounds like the name of a Nordic deity — but alas…

In today's edition:

🏥 Cancer doctor cancer-free

🇫🇷 The Olympics' anti-sex beds arrive

🏙️ Inner-city gun violence

–Max, Max, and Alex


Doctor Cancer-Free

An Australian doctor said he remains cancer-free nearly a year after undergoing an experimental treatment based on his own research

  • Richard Scolyer, 57, is an Australian doctor known for pioneering the use of immunotherapies – drugs that active or suppress the immune system – to treat melanoma, a form of skin cancer

  • Last June, Scolyer was diagnosed with brain cancer. Facing “certain death,” he underwent an experimental treatment based on his own research

  • On Monday, Scolyer announced that an MRI revealed he is still cancer-free nearly a year later. “I’m just thrilled,” he said. “I couldn't be happier”

Dig Deeper

  • Scolyer was named 2024’s “Australian Of The Year” for his work on melanoma

  • “[The MRI result] certainly doesn't mean that my brain cancer is cured...but it's just nice to know that it hasn't come back yet, so I’ve still got some more time to enjoy my life with my wife Katie and my three wonderful kids,” he told the BBC

  • Although the odds of Scolyer ultimately surviving the disease are very low, he has said he hopes results from his treatment will lead to clinical trials to help others with his disease. He and a colleague have a paper under review analyzing the results of his treatment


Hamas Reassembling?

Fighting has been ongoing between Israel and Hamas in northern Gaza, suggesting that Hamas is reassembling in the area

  • In January, after months of fighting, Israel declared that it had “dismantled” Hamas in the north. Israel then began preparing to invade Rafah, in southern Gaza, which it began doing last week

  • Over the weekend, though, fighting broke out again in northern Gaza. Israel said its intelligence indicates that Hamas is attempting to “reassemble” there

  • On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Israel risks facing an “enduring insurgency.” He added that without a political solution for Gaza, Israel’s victories won’t be “sustainable”

Roca’s Partners

Secure Your Accounts

This month, we’re highlighting our favorite Surfshark products. Today, we’re talking about Surfshark Alert:

  • Surfshark Alert scans the web daily to see if any of your data is leaked.

  • You receive immediate alerts if your email address appears in breached online databases.

  • It safeguards your personal identification number and credit cards.

  • Surfshark Alert also provides recommendations and an emergency plan in case of a breach.

  • You can also opt-in for quarterly or yearly security reports to always stay on top of your private data security.

Dig Deeper


US Starts Lab Meat Bans

Florida and Alabama banned lab-grown meat

  • Lab-grown meat comes from real animal cells that are grown in laboratory conditions. Last year, the US permitted two companies to sell such meat, although due to high costs and low supply, it currently isn’t on sale in any US stores or restaurants

  • This month, Florida became the first state to ban its production or sale. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said, “Florida is fighting back against the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat meat grown in a petri dish”

  • Just over a week later, Alabama passed a law criminalizing “the manufacture, sale, or distribution of food products made from cultured animal cells”

  • Politicians in several other states, including Texas, have suggested they too may ban lab-grown meat

Dig Deeper

  • The US livestock industry has grappled with how to deal with the new potential rival

  • Some groups, such as the United States Cattlemen’s Association, have called for regulations forcing lab-grown meat to be labeled as “imitation”

  • Others, including several large meatpackers, have invested in lab-grown meat startups. An influential trade group representing major US meatpackers came out against the Alabama ban, calling it “bad public policy” that will “restrict consumer choice”


Biden Quadruples EV Tariff

President Biden announced the US will impose a 100% tariff on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs)

  • The new figure quadruples the existing 25% tariff on Chinese EVs. The move is largely symbolic, though, as China is currently locked out of the US market by Trump-era restrictions

  • Biden said the US will also increase tariffs on Chinese lithium batteries from 0% to 25%; solar cells from 25% to 50%; semiconductors from 25% to 50%; and steel and aluminum from 0-7.5% to 25%

  • In response to the news, a Chinese official said China will “take resolute measures to defend its own interests”

Dig Deeper

  • The US and China have raised tariffs on one another’s goods since 2018, when Trump launched his “trade war”

  • Biden has largely continued Trump’s tariff policies, although he claims he has done so in a more strategic manner

  • Trump, for his part, has accused Biden of copying his policies. Of the 100% EV tariff he said, “Biden finally listened to me. He’s about four years late.” He has proposed a 200% tariff on Chinese EVs

Some Quick Stories for the Office

🚔 French police launched a manhunt for gunmen who ambushed a prison van in northwest France. The assailants killed two prison officials, injured three others, and freed a prisoner who had been convicted of robbery

🇬🇪 After weeks of mass protests, the country of Georgia passed a bill requiring organizations that receive foreign funding to register as “agents of foreign influence.” The EU – which Georgia is trying to join – criticized the bill, which critics allege resembles a similar one in Russia

📺 Comcast announced a new streaming bundle that will package its Peacock streaming service with rivals Netflix and Apple TV+. The service – StreamSaver – will be available only to Comcast internet customers

🌉 Authorities blew up Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge to free the container ship that had been stuck under it. Authorities hope they can now bring the ship back to port, which has been partially functioning

🚀 AMC and GameStop stock continued to soar, ending Tuesday up 31% and 60%, respectively

🏢 Michael Cohen testified for a second day in Donald Trump’s “hush money” trial, during which he claimed that Trump had falsified business records to reimburse him for a payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels


We founded RocaNews because we wanted news companies to give us just the facts – not tell us what to think. That inspires us to do the “Roca Votes” story each week, in which we summarize a controversial topic and see how Roca Nation feels about it.

Given the US Congress is considering a bill that would define “antisemitism,” this week we asked if it should do so.

Replying to Andrew J:

I agree. This is the same government that asked for the definition of, "woman" a few months ago. They'll brand it as an "antisemitism" definition and throw in other broad strokes language so they can use this law to attack people as needed.  

Danny from Maine

I think it is important for a government to have a definition for all forms of hate speech that it will not tolerate. We cannot provide a reason for why someone was removed from office for speech if we do not have a definition for intolerable speech. Even in a tolerant society, you cannot tolerate everything. And if everyone used their own definitions for things and there is no unified definition then we're all confused and lost. Due to the first amendment, we cannot arrest someone for their speech which I think is fine. You should be allowed to say whatever you want without fear of government intervention. I do not think you shouldn't be judged for what you say, and you speech can be used to justify motive for a crime you commit or actions others do because of your words, but you cannot be arrested and tried for speech alone. And regardless of the definitions for intolerable speech, you should not be arrested for speech alone.

Dalton from Grand Rapids

Although antisemitism is a problem in America, defining it would be counterproductive and further alienate Jewish people. Why not define Islamophobia? Why not define anti-Blackness? It seems odd to single out just the Jewish identity, when other identities are hurting as well.

Sarah in Brooklyn

Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🛏️ Let them not eat cake: Specially designed beds intended to deter athletes from having sex have arrived in Paris ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games

😳 RIP, portal: A livestream portal linking New York City and Dublin is temporarily shutting down due to “inappropriate behavior,” including a woman flashing the Dubliners

Marital mulligan: World No. 2 golfer and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy has filed for divorce from Erica Stoll, his wife of seven years, after claiming that their marriage is “irretrievably broken”

🏀 Clark Fever begins: Caitlin Clark made her WNBA debut on Tuesday. She scored 20 points – the most in WNBA history for a player’s first game – but turned the ball over 10 times as the Indiana Fever lost 92-71

🚓 Sorry or jailtime, sir: An Alabama man is fighting a judge’s order forcing him to apologize to a police officer. The man told the cop to “get your ass out of the way” after receiving a speeding ticket

30 Years of Crime

In a given year in the early 1990s, nearly 10 out of every 100,000 Americans were murdered.

Then the number dropped.

By 2000, the homicide rate was closer to 6; by 2014, it was around 4. Then it soared, jumping 30% between 2019 and 2020. It has since fallen but is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Philadelphia has been at the forefront of that spike: In the mid-2010s, it recorded around 240 homicides annually. In 2021, it recorded an all-time record 562; last year, 410.

Pastor Carl Day (see yesterday’s Wrap) has had a front-row seat to the violence of both the 1990s and today: Born and raised in north Philadelphia, he used to “run the streets” before being charged with attempted murder.

He was acquitted and now runs an organization that helps at-risk young people avoid lives of crime, drugs, and violence.

When we met Day, he said things were “crazy.”

Philadelphia was in the middle of one of its bloodiest weeks on record: That afternoon, two gunmen had opened fire at a stopped bus, killing a 17-year-old and injuring four, including a 71-year-old woman who was shot in the head.

A day later, a group pulled up and fired over 30 shots at three students waiting to catch the bus home from school. A 16-year-old was hit nine times.

It was the fourth shooting on the transit system in four days.

Day told Roca the streets weren’t as chaotic in his youth. “I've seen violence my entire life,” he said. “I remember having to get out the car [on] Christmas Eve because people were running through the block shooting.” But today, he says, the violence is “probably the worst it's ever been due to the fact that right now, there's very little ground or reason or structure to the streets.”

When Day was young, “violence was the last resort…we wanted girls and money”; now, Day says, “killing is the currency of today’s culture.”

Decades ago, violence happened when people were fighting over turf and selling drugs.

Today, Day says, the violence is cultural: “When you couple the access to guns, music, social media, the influence, the power that really controls the psyche of young kids – today, you can be on a bus on your way to a [youth] center and get killed.”

Day stressed the role of social media: Beef is no longer private. If someone is disrespected, it happens on social media and they feel a need to respond.

“In Philly, you know, it's like, me and you could have an argument on Instagram…and because all these people saw us arguing, now I know I gotta do whatever I gotta do. So now I might happen to see you. Wherever I see you, I'm shooting.”

“Today's bright-eyed 14-year-old could be tomorrow's shooter if he feels embarrassed enough,” Day added.

Another issue, he said, are ghost guns: People – often in the suburbs, says Day – 3D-print guns and sell them in the inner-city. He said that undermines the gun control debate: Republicans and Democrats often blame each other about gun laws, said Day, “but what happens when kids have access to guns that literally were created out of nowhere?”

Then there’s money: People in the inner-city saw stimulus inflate their incomes during the pandemic, giving them the money to buy guns and fueling violence. Now, people don’t want to take jobs because they’re earning less than they did in 2020. Instead, many run scams or steal cars so they can afford the guns they think will boost their street cred.

There’s reason to believe some normalcy is returning: Murder rates fell last year and are expected to do so again this year. Yet Day cautioned that can be misleading.

“There's a lot of people who've been shot, brother. If you just look at the last three years, over 2,000 people [shot a year]. That's 6,000 people shot….on average, they got at least three people that love and care about them. Those are the co-victims,” Day said.

“That's 18,000 people impacted by gun violence…That's not just going to go away.”

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

Final Thoughts

Thank you for all of the nice notes about the Pastor of the Hood story. As bleak as Kensington was, it was amazing to see the work that Pastor Carl Day and others are doing in the area. Philly is just the first of many US cities whose underbellies we’d like to explore, so let us know where we should go next. We will always try to look beyond the bad and find some good.

Have a great Wednesday!

— Max, Max, and Alex