🌊 Epic Fail

Epic fail, Fortnite, UFO sightings soar, and Doomsday Vault

Today is the 42-year anniversary of the infamous Announcerless Game.

NBC bigwigs thought they could boost what otherwise would’ve been a dud of a Jets-Dolphins game by ditching commentators. Well, there’s a reason you haven’t seen this since. The stunt proved a massive flop and became something of a pre-meme era meme. Apparently leaving us to our thoughts on a Sunday is not a winning formula….

In today's edition:

  • Epic fail, Fortnite

  • UFO sightings soar

  • Doomsday Vault

🔑 Key Stories

Epic Settles Over Fortnite Complaints

  • Epic is the American video game company behind Fortnite, which was released in 2017 and became one the most successful video games of all time

  • The FTC, the US government's top competition regulator, had accused Epic of violating kids’ data privacy; failing to address harassment concerns; and tricking users into making unintended purchases

  • Epic accepted the agreement, but did not admit guilt. It also agreed to implement new privacy and payment policies and overhaul its chat functions

Dig Deeper

  • The FTC claimed underage users were “bullied, threatened and harassed within Fortnite, including sexually,” and that Epic knew about the problem as early as 2017 but didn't do enough to rectify it

Chief Twit to Step Down?

Per the results of Elon Musk’s Twitter poll, users want Musk to step down as Twitter’s top executive

  • Musk is Twitter’s CEO and owner. In November, Musk said, “I expect to reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time,” but he’s since remained in charge of the company

  • On Sunday, Musk tweeted a poll asking, “Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.” ~58% of ~18M users voted “Yes”

  • Also Sunday, Musk tweeted, “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.” It’s unclear what he will do now

Dig Deeper

  • Musk is yet to announce his next steps. In October, he spent $44B to buy Twitter

EU Approves Gas Cap

  • Natural gas is used to heat homes and generate electricity. This year, supply chain issues and the Russia-Ukraine war have caused prices to fluctuate and spike at times

  • The EU imports most of its gas. Per this agreement, though, beginning February 15, EU countries will not pay above a certain rate for gas, in order to stop energy prices from spiking during the winter months

  • Several countries opposed the move, saying the gas may just be sold to countries that will pay more; the majority say the move will protect consumers

Dig Deeper

  • Per urging by Germany and other countries, the new cap includes built-in exceptions, such as when gas supplies are severely restricted or when a country is experiencing shortages

Heard, Depp Settle Lawsuit

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp have settled their defamation lawsuit, Heard announced on Instagram

Dig Deeper

  • In 2020, Depp lost a libel lawsuit against UK tabloid newspaper "The Sun," which in 2018 labeled him a "wife-beater." Heard cited that decision in an Instagram post after the jury sided with Depp earlier this year

The Pros of Being a Ghost!

Sponsored by DeleteMe

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  • Data brokers profit by collecting your personal information and posting it online. DeleteMe removes personal information – like your name, address, age, phone numbers, email address, and photos of your home – by making data brokers take it down

  • Removing personal information from data broker websites reduces your online footprint and keeps you and your family safe from threats like identity theft, scams and personal harassment

  • The average person has over 2,000 pieces of their personal data online. DeleteMe has removed more than 35M pieces of personal data for its customers across the web

Dig Deeper

  • Trusted by Fortune 500 companies; federal, state and local government agencies; and non-profit organizations, DeleteMe helps people protect themselves from financial risk by constantly monitoring for and removing personal data from public sources. You provide them with the information you’d like deleted, and they do all the work to get it removed

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Friendly fire? Fox News' "The Five" has toppled "Tucker Carlson Tonight" to become the most-watched cable news show. The program grew 17% from 2021

  • Thai-tanic accident: A Thai navy ship sank during a storm in the Gulf of Thailand, leaving 31 sailors missing. Authorities say they have rescued 75 from the crew

  • Out with a bang: Universal released its first official trailer for Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer. The movie tells the story of the development of the atomic bomb

Wildcard

  • Don't cry for me, Argentina: Brazil maintained its #1 FIFA ranking despite Argentina's World Cup win. Argentina was #2, France #3, and the United States #13

  • ET, fly home The US government's new UFO-tracking office has received "several hundred" new UFO reports from military personnel this year

  • Bling-bling Bishop arrested: The Brooklyn pastor who was robbed of $1M in jewelry during a July church service was arrested on federal fraud charges

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

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Today's Question:

How do you pay it forward during the holiday season?

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See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

The future of humanity may depend on one of Earth’s most remote places.

Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Apart from the town of Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost inhabited town, most of Svalbard is just empty, frozen land.

But because of that isolation, Svalbard is home to the “Doomsday Vault.”

The Vault – technically the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – has a mission of building a reserve of every unique seed in the world. And to that end, it contains over a million of them.

Most countries have their own storage facilities where they store seeds of important crops, called gene banks. Gene banks are like insurance policies against anything that could wipe out crops, like disease or natural disasters. In such an event, countries can pull seeds from the banks to restore harvests or breed better varieties. Today there are ~1700 gene banks around the world.

But even the gene vaults aren’t immune to disaster, politics, or war. Storage facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine have been destroyed for those reasons.

That’s where the Svalbard Global Seed Vault comes in. It’s the world’s backup, backup, seed supply, designed to protect against anything that could go wrong at the national or international level.

And for that reason, “it is away from the places on earth where you have war and terror, everything maybe you are afraid of in other places,” its property manager told TIME magazine.

A lot of things would have to go wrong for the world to rely on seeds from the Global Seed Vault. That’s how it earned its “Doomsday” nickname.

The Norwegian government funded the Vault, and today operates it in partnership with the Crop Trust, a Germany-based nonprofit with a mission to “conserve and make available the world's crop diversity for food security.” Since opening in 2008, the Vault has collected more than 1.1M samples. Each sample contains 500 seeds. It has enough space to store 4.5M samples, or over 2B seeds.

Many of those seeds aren’t in general use anymore, and some exist only in the Vault and other gene banks. There are usually varieties of each seed to protect DNA diversity. One of the Vault’s 200,000 varieties of rice seeds, for example, could have the trait needed to protect rice from a new disease.

Seeds are stored at -0.4°F (-18°C) in specially-designed foil packages that are placed in sealed boxes. The low temperature and moisture levels ensure low metabolic activity, so seeds remain capable of living for decades, centuries, or even millennia. If electricity fails, the Svalbard’s permafrost climate would keep the seeds naturally frozen, and thus viable, until it's restored.

The facility's security is intense, and it is not open to the public. The Vault itself is protected by 5 doors with coded locks, in addition to state-of-the art security systems.

If all goes to plan, the Vault will remain exactly as is: Stocked, locked, and far away from everything else happening in the world.

If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!

🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Did you watch the World Cup final?Yes: 40.58%No: 59.42%%

Yesterday's Question:

Do you think soccer will replace baseball as America's third most popular sport in the next 10 years?

David from DC: "Soccer will not replace Baseball as America's third sport. We already have a league that has been able to succeed, but the quality pales in comparison to other pro leagues around the world. Baseball has history on its side & I will never root more for the NE Revolution than the Red Sox. (New Englander in the blood)"

Joe from Wisconsin: "I'm a baseball fan and I think yes, soccer will become more popular than baseball. The pace of play in baseball is horribly slow, even with the changes they've made to the rules. It's also gotten really expensive to take your family to an MLB game. I'd rather take my kids to a minor league game that's cheaper. You're also closer to the action and the players are more accessible."

Erica from Florida: "I doubt that soccer will replace baseball in the next 10 years, maybe in 50? That being said, the World Cup final was AMAZING! Even if you didn't care who won, it was an exciting edge of your seat game, and definitely answered completely the question you asked a few weeks ago- is the World Cup worth the hype--Yes! In a weekend of amazing comebacks (looking at you Vikings), it was still the most impressive match to witness, and will be talked about for years to come."

🧠 Final Thoughts

Exciting news! The Unicorner, a weekly newsletter that features up-and-coming startups, just featured RocaNews as its latest company, which you can check out here! Their goal is to find the next Airbnb, Netflix, or Uber before they make it big. Not bad company to be in...

We hope you have great Tuesdays. We guess anything is a great day if we don't have to tap into that Doomsday Vault.

-Max and Max