🌊 George of the Jail Cell?

First British kids with 3 parents, Bo Jackson’s unorthodox hiccup cure, and the Varginha Incident

A very happy National Twilight Zone Day to all of you who celebrate. It's not clear why it's Twilight Zone Day, but maybe the better question is... why would it not be National Twilight Zone Day? This entire week of news has felt like the Twilight Zone, and we thank you for choosing Roca as your fact-based companion. Now… prepare to enter another dimension.

In today's edition:

  • First British kids with 3 parents

  • Bo Jackson’s unorthodox hiccup cure

  • The Varginha Incident

 🔑 Key Stories

Drowsy Driving Tests

Researchers at Australia's Monash University claimed to have identified 5 substances in the blood that indicate when a person is sleep-deprived

  • The National Sleep Foundation estimates 6,400 Americans die annually in crashes linked to drowsiness, and a CDC poll found that 1 in 25 people fell asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days

  • Australian researchers told The Guardian they identified 5 biomarkers in patients’ blood that could determine with 99% accuracy if a person hadn’t slept for a day

  • They said that could lead to tests and laws that punish people for “drowsy driving”

Dig Deeper

  • The research was funded by the Australian Government Office of Road Safety

  • The researchers said next steps include improving the process to better quantify the numbers of hours slept, and ensuring that all 5 biomarkers are independent of other factors

3-Parent Kids

Several babies born in the United Kingdom have 3 parents’ DNA

  • Most human genes are stored in the cell’s nucleus; some are in the mitochondria. While children get half of their genes from each parent, they inherit all of their mitochondrial DNA from the mother

  • When a mother has mitochondrial defects, she therefore passes them on to her children

  • To solve that, UK doctors fertilized the egg of a woman with mitochondrial defects and put the resulting nucleus DNA into the egg of a donor with healthy mitochondria. Several children were born this way: 99.8% of their DNA is the parents’; .2% the donor’s

Dig Deeper

Koalas Getting Jabbed

Australian scientists have begun vaccinating wild koalas against chlamydia

  • Australia’s wild koala population has declined rapidly in the last 2 decades, and as of 2021 fewer than 32,000 were estimated to remain in the wild

  • 90%+ of koalas in some areas have chlamydia, an STD common in humans and other animals. Koalas don’t respond to common antibiotics, and the disease can cause blindness, infertility, and death

  • Researchers from 2 universities have developed vaccines specifically designed to safeguard koalas from the disease and have started vaccinating wild koalas

Dig Deeper

  • Few vaccinations have been developed for endangered wildlife. Those that have been include one to prevent yellow fever in a type of monkey, and a deadly virus in Hawaiian monk seals. Conservationists are debating whether wildlife vaccines should be used more often

Santos Charged with 13 Counts

Representative George Santos pleaded not guilty to to 13 counts of money laundering, wire fraud, stealing public money, and making false statements to Congress

  • Santos was elected to the House in November. He represents part of Long Island and Queens, NYC. After he was elected it emerged that he lied during his campaign, which led to a federal investigation

  • Federal charges were announced on Tuesday; Santos turned himself in on Wednesday. Prosecutors say he lied to Congress about his income; wrongly claimed unemployment; and used campaign funds for personal expenses

  • Santos called the charges a “witch hunt”

Dig Deeper

  • While announcing the charges a US attorney said, “He used political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits that should have gone to New Yorkers who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and lied to the House of Representatives”

  • Santos said, "I will prove myself innocent...I am going to take care of clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that.”

The Alternative to Sugary Sports Drinks

Together with LMNT

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  • Electrolytes are essential minerals that facilitate vital bodily functions, including the conduction of nerve impulses, hormonal regulation, nutrient absorption, and fluid balance

  • LMNT electrolytes contain just what you need – the salts – without all the other harmful additives. Just mix it with water and it’s perfect for hydrating, be it after a workout or night out

  • Other popular electrolyte drinks contain as much as 36 grams of sugar. 36 GRAMS! LMNT contains none – NONE!

  • You can try it totally risk-free. If you don’t like it, they’ll give you your money back – no questions asked

Dig Deeper

  • Right now LMNT is offering Roca Riders a free sample pack with any purchase. That’s 8 single servings FREE with any LMNT order. This is a great way to try all 8 flavors or share LMNT with a salty friend

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • (A)I Will (not) Survive: Spotify has removed tens of thousands of AI-generated songs after receiving reports that bots were artificially boosting their streams

  • Not great, Bob: West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins has agreed to a $1M salary reduction, 3-game suspension, and sensitivity training as punishment for using a gay slur on the radio

  • Fold up, Apple: Google announced a new foldable phone called the “Pixel Fold.” It will cost $1,800, and shipments will begin next month

Wildcard

  • Smashing hackers: The frontman of the rock band The Smashing Pumpkins admitted to paying ransom to a hacker who threatened to release the band’s unreleased music

  • Bo… you may need a new doctor: Legendary athlete Bo Jackson claims that he’s tried to cure his year-long hiccups with a range of methods, including “smelling the a** of a porcupine”

  • Scent of a skeeter: The scent of soap can attract mosquitoes, per a new study. Although most soap brands in the study attracted them, some repelled them

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

Is the state you were born in your favorite state?

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Today's Question:

What movie would you recommend to a stranger?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

On January 20, 1996, two 14- and 16-year-old sisters and their 21-year-old friend were taking a walk.

It was a Saturday afternoon in Varginha, a 120,000-person city in southern Brazil.

On their way home, they took a shortcut through a vacant lot. Lying against a wall there they encountered something strange: "It wasn't a man or an animal – it was something different," Katia, the 21-year-old, said at the time. The creature looked at them, and they sprinted home in a panic.

They told their mother they had seen a creature with oily, brown skin; rubbery limbs; large red eyes; and an oversized head with 3 large bumps coming out of it. It looked like it was dying and it reeked, they said. The girls – Catholics – thought it was a demon.

Their mother had them take her to the site, where they found a large footprint with 3 long toes. Decades later, their mother recalled the smell in the air: “For 20 days I smelled its smell.” “I couldn’t stand the smell. I don’t know where it came from… It smelled worse than sulfur.”

The news spread rapidly through the city, where several other people reported having seen a cigar-shape object falling through the sky.

At the same time, a body bag was brought to the hospital and a military convoy drove out of the city. Locals alleged a military cover-up of an alien visit.

2 stories emerged about what happened

The military called the cover-up allegations "absurd" and "ridiculous." A spokesman said there had been a convoy that day that was transporting Army vehicles for maintenance.

Hospital employees said the body belonged to a student who had been arrested and committed suicide in his cell. The skeptics blamed mass hysteria, with people combining unrelated events to create a narrative.

The other story drew on several follow-up events.

Locals reported a military blockade several miles from the city center, which numerous people claimed was to block off a crash site. Some people said the military captured 2 aliens – one from a UFO crash site, and one from the place where the girls had seen them.

Days later, a 23-year-old military officer brought himself to a hospital. He claimed to have been scratched by an alien while transporting it in his vehicle, the doctor who treated him later said. The officer died soon after.

The story made headlines across Brazil.

It reached some foreign papers, including the Wall Street Journal, which published an article in 1996 entitled, “Tale of Stinky Extraterrestrials Stirs Up UFO Crowd in Brazil.”

Varginha became a UFO hub, going so far as to install a UFO-shaped water tower. Dozens of people – doctors, soldiers, police, military officers – subsequently came forward with claims of having facilitated a cover-up.

Among them was a military flight control officer who claimed to have seen a US Air Force plane land at the air base where other officers claimed to have delivered the alien corpses

Also to come forward was the hospital employee who performed an X-ray on the body that was brought to the hospital. He said the military forced him to conduct the X-ray without opening the body bag and without looking at the imagery.

In 2010, the Brazilian military released its final report on the matter.

It claimed that the girls had seen a local man named “Mudinho,” who “probably has some mental disability and whose physical characteristics matched the [alien] description.”

“This citizen, probably being dirty, due to the heavy rains and seen crouching by a wall, was mistaken by the 3 terrified girls as a space creature.” All other appearances of a cover-up were coincidental, it said.

In October, an American documentary – “Moment of Contact” – was released that featured interviews with dozens of people who claimed to have either seen an alien or aided the cover-up. As its director, James Fox, promoted it, the movie sparked a resurgence of interest in the case.

Varginha made headlines again last week, when the director released new videos featuring the forensic pathologists who autopsied the officer that died after claiming to have transported an alien.

In the video, they say the man died of a bacterial infection that they had never seen before.

Brazil’s military maintains its official position that there is no proof aliens ever visited Varginha.

Did aliens visit Varginha, or no?

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

Thanks to all of you who provided feedback about the interactive Wraps over the last 2 days! We’re back to the original version. We want to make sure this newsletter continues to deliver news in the best format for you, so if you have any more feedback on the content, format, or anything else, let us know by replying to this email!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you enjoy road trips?

Yes: 84%

No, I’ll fly: 16%

Yesterday's Question:

Do you agree with the philosophy “the customer is always right”?

Sam from Texas: “I work at an optical (we sell glasses frames). We live by the moniker: the customer is always right... in matters of taste!”

Chris from Oregon: “The customer is NOT always right, but deserves to be treated with respect.”

Jackie from Florida: “Being in customer service for 30+ years - Yes and No :) You do your best to accommodate the customer and follow a 'customer is right' policy but if they are way off base and too unreasonable or demanding, trying to placate and satisfy them to a degree of keeping them as a returning customer is the goal. Not all problems can be solved and some people will never be satisfied and a 'thank you for letting us' know and listening to the complaint is all you can do.”

🧠 Final Thoughts

Happy Thursday, Roca nation. Keep your eyes peeled for aliens, and let us know what you think about the Varginha incident.

Full disclosure: We watched the documentary last weekend and haven't stopped discussing the case since...

–Max and Max