🌊 Guilty On All Counts

Electricity demands of AI fueling a coal comeback?

Hey, anything happen yesterday?

Well, yesterday was a biggie. Some publications are celebrating the Trump verdict; others are mourning it. But we’re doing something radical for news orgs in 2024: We’re reporting it. You can decide whether to celebrate, mourn, or shrivel up into an “I’m sick of politics” fetal position from there. And if you do need to vent or share your zinger, email [email protected]. We could use a break from the “You’re a disappointment. Sincerely, Dad” emails we typically find there.

🏛️ Trump guity on all charges

🏍️ Massachusetts man grills roadkill on stolen motorcycle?

📱 Invention-themed 20 Questions

Here’s the link to today’s invention-themed 20 Questions. From sliced bread to the Scrub Daddy, we ask you to rate some of the most important inventions of all time on a scale of 1 to 10. Have a great weekend!

KEY STORY

Trump Guilty

A jury found Donald Trump guilty on all counts in his New York “hush money” criminal trial

  • Trump faced 34 counts of falsifying business documents to conceal a payment to Stormy Daniels for the purpose of interfering in the 2016 election

  • Sentencing – which could range from probation to four years in prison – is set for July 11 at 10 AM. He is nearly certain to appeal

  • This is likely to be the only of the four criminal cases Trump faces that will be concluded before the election

Dig Deeper

  • After leaving the courtroom, Trump said, “This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt…The real verdict is going to be [in the election] by the people, and they know what happened here”

KEY STORY

NRA Case Continues

The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the NRA can continue pursuing a free speech case

  • The case revolves around attempts by a former New York state official, Maria T. Vullo, to encourage insurance companies to stop doing business with the NRA. In a 2018, memo she urged companies to “review any relationships” they had with the NRA

  • The NRA sued, arguing Vullo violated its First Amendment rights, but a federal court dismissed that claim. SCOTUS ruled that the NRA has a plausible case, though, sending it back to the lower court and allowing it to proceed

Dig Deeper

  • Per court filings, after the 2018 Parkland shooting, Vullo sent memos to insurance companies and financial institutions titled, “Guidance on Risk Management Relating to the N.R.A. and Similar Gun Promotion Organizations.” Those also urged companies to “review any relationships” they have with the NRA or similar groups


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Dig Deeper

KEY STORY

Coal Phase-Out Delayed

The electricity demands of AI are slowing plans to phase out coal, the Financial Times reported

  • The amount of US energy derived from coal has fallen by more than 50% over the last decade, and last year, the Biden administration announced a plan to completely phase out coal by 2035

  • Yet AI is causing electricity demand to soar: For context, the UN estimates that ChatGPT uses 10x as much energy as Google Search

  • That’s delaying plans to phase out coal: Per the FT, US companies now plan to phase out 40% less coal capacity by 2030 than they did a year ago

Dig Deeper

  • A recent University of Massachusetts Amherst study found that “training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars in their lifetimes”

  • “You can’t replace the [coal] plants fast enough to meet the demand [posed by AI],” the CEO of one of the US’ largest coal producers told the FT

KEY STORY

US Weapon Strikes in Russia

President Biden gave Ukraine permission to use US weapons to strike some targets inside Russia

  • Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US and its allies have forbidden Ukraine from using weapons they supply to strike targets inside Russia, fearing that doing so could trigger a wider war

  • Pressure has mounted on the US to change that policy, though, especially since Russia launched an offensive against the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv earlier this month

  • Now, Biden has permitted Ukraine to use US-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia, but only in the Kharkiv region

Dig Deeper

  • In an interview with The New York Times published earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky challenged that policy. “Why can’t we use weapons to destroy them where they are massing?” he said

  • A US official told POLITICO that the weapons could be used for “counter-fire purposes,” meaning Ukraine can “hit back at Russian forces hitting them” from inside Russian territory

RUNDOWN
Some Quick Stories for the Office

📱 An AI-generated image that says “All Eyes on Rafah” has become one of the most viral Instagram posts ever, being shared 47M times in just two days. The post has earned it comparisons to the BLM “black square”

🇿🇦 Early election results indicate that the African National Congress, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid, will lose its parliamentary majority for the first time. As of Thursday evening, with 43% of voting districts counted, the ANC is well short of a majority

💰 Trump’s campaign donation page crashed after the guilty verdict. “The American people see through Crooked Joe Biden’s rigged show trial,” Trump’s campaign posted on X. “So many Americans were moved to donate to President Trump’s campaign that the [donation] pages went down. We are working on getting the website back online as quickly as possible”

🏢 WeWork, the co-working company that went from a $47B valuation to bankruptcy, was cleared to exit bankruptcy. A judge approved a restructuring plan that will see the company shed billions of dollars in debt and relaunch as a smaller, private company

🤒 A Michigan farmworker tested positive for bird flu, making him the third human infected with the disease amid an outbreak among US cattle. The man displayed cold-like symptoms, making him the first of the three infected humans to exhibit respiratory symptoms

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🐊 Rookie numbers, gotta get ‘em up: The Eustis, Florida, police chief reported that the city – the first in the state to install speed cameras in a school zoneissued 1,300 citations in five weeks

🏖️ Penis party’s over: Platja d’Aro, a popular resort town in Spain, has banned inflatable penis costumes and sex dolls from bachelor and bachelorette parties

🤦‍♂️ Un Poco Toco: Toco, a Japanese man who went viral for his realistic dog costume, said he wants to become another animal. He spent $14,000 to become a collie but now may try being a panda

🍿 The “Dune” playbook: The “Deadpool & Wolverine” popcorn buckets have been revealed. The buckets will dispense popcorn out of the characters’ mouths

🏍️ Food Is Expensive… : A Massachusetts man stole a custom motorcycle stolen from a charity raffle at a New Hampshire tavern and then allegedly used it to grill roadkill. Police say he used the tailpipe for heat

ASK AND TELL
20 Questions

"Yuck, that was brutal" and "You guys are dorks but I still love you 🤗" were two of the many responses you sent in for last week's "This or That" 20 Questions. We even got one that told us to "hang it up."

But bad news for the haters: we've watched every single Rocky movie, so "giving up" is not in our vocabulary. We are back this week with a slightly more serious edition of 20 Questions than last week's in which we asked you if you'd prefer to lick someone's toes or have your toes licked. This week, we're doing a 1-10 ratings edition of some of the most important inventions of all time. Hope you enjoy and can't wait to see your responses. 

Last Week’s 20 Questions:

Skip back 15 years - 48.1%
Continue life as is - 51.9%

Fight 200 squirrels - 63.7%
1 grizzly - 36.3%

Bet your life savings on a coin flip - 35.9%
Roll of the dice (odds/evens) - 64.1%

Eat soup with a fork - 30.1%
Eat steak with a spoon - 69.9%

Eat 2-month old eggs - 76.4%
Drink 1-month old milk - 23.6%

Live your life in a simulation and never know it - 53%
Become aware of it - 47%

Wear flip flops in winter - 68.7%
Wear a down jacket in summer - 31.3%

Love your job but never take a vacation again - 58.4%
Hate your job but take 30 days off a year - 41.6%

Have a roach infestation - 37.7%
Have a rat problem - 62.3%

Have a bowl of ice cream - 59.6%
Have a milkshake - 40.4%

Take 3 Nyquils before a date - 77.5%
Take 1 laxative before a date - 22.5%

Wear itchy underwear - 26.2%
Wear wet socks - 73.8%

Text your boss “I love u” - 57.3%
Drink a bottle of ketchup - 42.7%

No toilet paper for a week - 33.3%
No bed for a month - 66.7%

Streak on the field during the Super Bowl - 58.8%
Never speak your native language again - 41.2%

Daily paper cut - 39.2%
Daily stubbed toe - 60.8%

Lick someone’s feet - 6.7%
Have your feet licked - 93.3%

Live in Candy Land world - 56.6%
Live in Monopoly! world - 43.5%

Ice-cold shower - 55.5%
Take a shot of mayonnaise - 44.5%

Forget everyone’s last name - 86.6%
Lose two toes - 13.4%

EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

Given it’s an election year, we can’t wait to travel around the country this summer. If you have any interesting stories in your town/city/county, please let us know. We want to hold a mirror to the thoughts and realities that Americans experience — especially in the regions that Big News ignores.

Have a great weekend. We are so grateful for the Roca community!

–Max and Max