🌊 Great British Vax-Off

Why your Bitcoin friends are happy again, Oxford declares its word of the year… and napping penguins and reindeer nation

Brenda Lee is rockin’ around the record books today. The 78-year-old country singer’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in its 65-year history. That makes Brenda Lee the oldest artist to have a #1 hit in history. It also reveals the mind-blowing fact that she was 13 years old when she recorded it. I had always pictured the singer as a slightly drunk 51-year-old divorcee. Either way, congrats, Brenda!

Welcome to the hundreds of college students who signed up for Roca Premium yesterday! We founded Roca to create a news source for young people who are fed up with the bias and alarmism of Big News. This month we are excited to offer free annual subscriptions of Roca Premium to college students! Welcome to all who joined and please continue to share this opportunity with your college network!

In today's edition:

  • Why your Bitcoin friends are happy again

  • Oxford declares its word of the year…

  • Napping penguins and reindeer nation

 🔑 Key Stories

Vaccine Raid

The UK considered sending its military into the Netherlands in 2021 after it refused to hand over Covid shots, according to new allegations

  • In March 2021, the EU demanded that the Netherlands stop sending Covid shots to the UK, which it accused of hoarding vaccines

  • This week, diplomats in former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government told UK media that he was so “enraged” about the situation that he considered “military options” to seize the shots by force

  • “He felt he was fighting for British lives and [asked] whether there were military options for just going and getting these vaccines,” one source said

  • Johnson is expected to shed more light on the matter in the coming days, when he is questioned by the UK government’s Covid Inquiry

Big Egg v. Big Food

A jury ordered several of the US’ largest egg suppliers to pay $17.7M to food companies for a price-fixing conspiracy

  • The lawsuit, filed by Kraft, General Mills, Nestle, and others, accused egg producers of colluding to keep egg prices high from 2004 to 2008. It claimed they coordinated to export eggs and reduce flock sizes to reduce the egg supply, driving up domestic prices

  • On Friday, a jury awarded the food companies $17.7M in damages after finding that the US’ largest egg companies violated antitrust laws. Per US antitrust laws, that sum could be tripled to $53M

  • Several egg companies said they plan to appeal

Bitcoin Hits $41,000

The price of Bitcoin exceeded $41,000 on Monday for the first time since April 2022

  • Bitcoin’s price peaked at $64,400 in November 2021. Last year, amid higher interest rates and regulatory scrutiny, the crypto market crashed. Bitcoin bottomed out at $16,400 in November 2022

  • Since October, though, the crypto market has witnessed sustained growth driven by financial optimism and a belief that the US government is now taking a lighter stance on its handling of crypto 

  • On Monday, Bitcoin’s price exceeded $41,000 for the first time in two years

Turmoil in Ukraine

Statements suggest tension is growing among Ukraine’s top politicians

  • Earlier this summer, Ukraine launched an offensive to retake lost territory. That failed and Ukrainians’ trust in President Zelensky has since fallen, polls show

  • Last month, Ukraine’s top general said the war was in a “stalemate,” a statement that Zelensky fiercely denied. It also suggested growing dissent in the government

  • This weekend, Kyiv’s mayor said Zelensky is becoming authoritarian: “At some point we will no longer be any different from Russia,” he said. It comes after Ukraine canceled this year’s elections

UK Immigration Plan

The UK unveiled new rules intended to drastically reduce migration

  • The UK received a record 745,000 immigrants last year. It has become a major political issue for the ruling Conservative Party, which promised to reduce immigration but has failed to do so. The UK now accepts more than twice as many immigrants as before Brexit 

  • On Monday, the UK announced new rules to reduce immigration. The changes will raise the minimum salary skilled workers need to receive a visa, make it harder for immigrants to bring their families, and more

  • The UK government hopes to reduce immigration by 300,000 annually

What’s all the salt about?

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🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Santos Claus: Since his expulsion from the US House last week, former Representative George Santos (R-NY) has begun selling personalized videos on Cameo for $200 each

  • Year of Rizz: Oxford University Press named “rizz” as its word of the year. The term – popular among Gen Z – describes someone’s ability to attract others. It comes from the word “charisma”

  • It’s been brewin’: MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers signed 19-year-old outfielder Jackson Chourio to an $82M, eight-year deal, the largest contract ever for a player without major league experience

Wildcard

  • That car is toast! Danish police said a fire – likely ignited by a toaster used to warm a car battery – destroyed a vehicle and damaged a nearby house

  • Grand Theft Waffle House: A 28-year-old man allegedly stole an Atlanta bus after threatening the driver over a fare dispute. He then dropped off a passenger at Waffle House

  • Kangaroo’s got hands: Canadian police captured a kangaroo on the loose near Toronto. The kangaroo punched an officer after they grabbed its tail

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Breakfast for dinner is

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

Does your family send a holiday card each year?

PS — If the answer is yes, our New York office (494 Broadway, Fl 2) would always love to be on the recipient list!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌎 Roca Wrap

Penguins take 10,000 naps a day to survive on this island.  

King George Island lies 75 miles off the coast of Antarctica in the Southern Ocean. First sighted in 1819 by a British naval expedition, the island has become a hub for scientific research in Antarctica.

Its relatively mild Antarctic climate and glacier-free terrain make it easier to maintain research stations there compared to more extreme locations on the continent. As a result, several countries and international researchers teams have established bases there.

One such international team released a study this week reporting on one of the continent’s most important elements: Its chinstrap penguins. Chinstrap penguins are an indicator species on the island, meaning their population trends can provide valuable information about the health of the marine environment.

During one field study of the penguins, one researcher noticed something odd about the birds during their breeding season: They frequently blinked their eyes and appeared to nod off. His team attached sensors to 14 adults birds over 11 days to monitor their brain waves to better understand what the birds were doing.

The result? The birds were taking thousands of tiny micro-naps. The average nap length was around four seconds; 72% of them lasted less than ten seconds. But in total, the birds slept 11 hours a day – without ever slipping into uninterrupted sleep.

His team theorized that micronaps allowed the birds to keep a constant eye on their nests, protecting eggs and chicks from Antarctic predators. The discovery is “unprecedented, even among penguins,” researchers wrote.

For Antarctica's chinstrap penguins, there’s no rest for the waddled.

Have thoughts? Let us know what you think at [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

The Elf on the Shelf is a…
Great new Christmas addition: 43%
Creepy addition to Christmas traditions: 57%

Yesterday's Question:

Could you be happy living in a place that doesn’t see the sun for days at a time?

Gus: “I’m originally from the southeast, having lived in North Carolina and Alabama. My husband and I moved to Michigan for two years for graduate school, and let me tell you…the sun leaves in November and doesn’t come back until May. I had never understood seasonal depression, but looking back, I was a wilted flower during those months of grey. I have a whole new appreciation for Midwesterners surviving grey winters YEAR after YEAR! Needless to say, after his graduation, we moved to Texas and I’m writing this email from our back porch without a single cloud in the sky.”

Spencer from Tampa, Florida: “I could never live somewhere that doesn't see the sun for days at a time! I know this because I went to Notre Dame for college. The gray got to me, and I had to take Vitamin D supplements and sit under a UV lamp to combat the S.A.D. I had developed. Even still, it wasn't the same as real sun. I moved back to FL as soon as I graduated!”

🧠 Intermission

If the penguins weren’t enough Arctic wildlife for you, today’s Roca premium is about the significance of reindeer in Finland, where for centuries, people have survived by domesticating and raising reindeer. It’s a fascinating story we knew nothing about before Max F’s visit to the Arctic this fall. We hope you enjoy.

–Max and Max

🌎 Roca Reports

Last week our Roca Reports series moved to Finland to answer the pivotal question: Is it truly the world’s happiest country? The series continues today.

Roca Reports is part of our premium newsletter with on-the-ground investigations of stories no one else is covering. If you’re not a member, you can start your 14-day free trial here!

Reindeer live in only a handful of places. One of them is northern Finland, where they roam by the thousands and provide food, livelihoods, and more. 

At Santa’s Village – the Arctic tourist attraction mentioned yesterday – an employee, Joanna, gave me the rundown on reindeer. The region we were in – Lapland – encompasses much of the European Arctic, including northern Scandinavia and Finland. It’s home to an indigenous group known as the Sami that has practiced reindeer herding for centuries. 

Finland’s government formerly repressed the Sami, discouraging them from speaking their language and practicing their culture. One young half-Sami man told me he didn’t realize he was Sami until he stumbled across a traditional Sami outfit in a closet and asked his mom what it was. She told him she was Sami but no longer spoke the language because her school had prohibited her from speaking it. 

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