🌊 Hasta la Vista, Power

An armed attack on North Carolina’s power grid has left 33,000+ without power...

Roca Nation, you done did it again. Thank you to all of you who made day one of our merch drop a success: We sold out of two sets of coasters and one apparel item, and the rest is going quickly. We are trying to restock now, but check out the Roca dad hat and these coasters — who doesn't want Boris Yeltsin on their coffee table?

All proceeds support our mission of delivering nonpartisan, enjoyable news for free. Head here if you need a last-second stocking stuffer, or keep scrolling for today's news.

In today's edition:

  • Twitter Files on tap

  • Go too fast, and Austria will take your car

  • Is Bigfoot real?

🔑 Key Stories

north carolina power outage

Attack on North Carolina Power Grid

An armed attack on North Carolina’s power grid has left 33,000+ without power

  • Police allege that unknown assailant(s) fired gunshots at 2 power substations just after 7 PM on Saturday. The attack left ~45,000 homes and businesses in Moore County, North Carolina without power

  • The relevant energy company has said power should return by Thursday. Police are working with the FBI to investigate, but haven’t yet identified suspects

  • Officials declared a state of emergency and instituted a 9 PM - 5 AM curfew. Temperatures in the county are expected to dip to 30°F (-1°C) this week

Dig Deeper

  • The assailants "knew exactly what they were doing to cause the damage," a sheriff said. Earlier this year, a top government body warned that domestic terrorists have been developing "credible, specific plans" to attack US power grids since at least 2020

"Twitter Files" Leak Ongoing

Independent reporter Matt Taibbi has been leaking internal files about Twitter’s decision to censor the New York Post’s 2020 Hunter Biden story

  • Weeks before the 2020 election, Twitter suppressed a NY Post article detailing the illicit behavior of Hunter Biden, then-candidate Joe Biden’s son

  • On Friday, Elon Musk announced the release of documents showing “what really happened with the Hunter Biden story.” Taibbi has since been posting internal communications about the decision

  • The exchanges show a clash within Twitter about whether the company should suppress the story. A full Roca Wrap on the topic is coming tomorrow

Dig Deeper

  • We're posting a full breakdown of the files on our Instagram today. Head to @RideTheNews to check it out!

Russia: Ukraine Attacked Air Bases

Russia’s defense ministry claimed Ukrainian drones struck 2 air bases deep inside Russian territory

  • Russia has periodically accused Ukraine of attacking targets deep within Russia, including attacks on a bridge, weapon caches, and oil depots. Ukraine denies having ever targeted sites within Russia

  • On Monday, explosions rocked 2 Russian air bases hundreds of miles from Ukraine, killing 3 and injuring more. Russia claims Ukrainian drones were behind the attack; Ukraine has not acknowledged any role

  • One of the bases hosts bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. These are the deepest attacks on Russia yet

Dig Deeper

  • On Monday, in what some called a retaliatory strike, Russia fired 70 missiles at Ukraine's infrastructure. Ukraine claims it shot down 60 of them, but that the remaining missiles killed 4

Chinese Hackers Stole Pandemic Aid?

The US Secret Service said hackers linked to the Chinese government stole $20M in US pandemic relief

  • The US distributed $872.5B in federal pandemic unemployment pay; studies suggest 20%+ of that was improperly distributed. The Secret Service says 1,000+ pending fraud cases involve foreign-based organizations

  • On Monday, the Secret Service accused Chinese-based hacking group APT41 of stealing $20M+ in US aid. The US considers APT41 a “state-sponsored” group, and says the Chinese government may have ordered it

  • Officials say this is the first known instance of a foreign government defrauding US pandemic relief aid

Bonus: Today's Trivia

Which 2 countries claim to have created vodka?

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Did you get it right? See the correct answer below!

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Look what you made them do: A group of "Swifties," the nickname for diehard Taylor Swift fans, is suing Ticketmaster for fraud, price-fixing, and antitrust violations

  • Shakespeare is weeping: "Goblin mode" is Oxford Dictionary's 2022 word of the year. The internet terms describes "unapologetically self-indulgent" behavior

  • Stay Classy, GMA: Good Morning America has sidelined hosts Amy Robach and TJ Holmes amid rumors of their affair. ABC says it's figuring out what to do with them

Wildcard

  • Fast & Ford-less: Austria's government says it will seize and auction off the cars of drivers guilty of "extreme speeding." Officials say they are trying to deter "boy racers"

  • Grand stupidity: Park authorities fined a 20-year-old TikToker for hitting a golf ball into the Grand Canyon for a video. The TikToker, Katie Sigmond, has 6.9M followers

  • Prison face: The man who shot Lady Gaga's dog walker and stole her French bulldogs received a 21-year prison sentence. The dog walker survived the attack

👇🏻 What do you think?

Today's Poll

Hate to pit two of our coaster features against each other, but who's the more iconic British leader?

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Today's Question:

Have you been watching the World Cup? Does it deserve the hype?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

Today's Trivia

Correct answer: Poland and Russia! 

Maybe that was an easy, but we guarantee we found interesting facts about your other favorite spirits you likely don't know. We've designed (might we say, the best stocking stuffers ever) this idea for you to give the gift of Roca this year. So now you and your loved ones can be the most interesting people at happy hour. Get your set now!

🌯 Roca Wrap

Roca co-founder Max Towey (featured in above pic) and Jen Flanagan recently spent 3 days in New England, learning about unique jobs and people. Jen's writing about some of those experiences in The Current, starting with Bigfoot.

Is Bigfoot real?

To 13% of Amercicans, the answer is “yes.” We visited Ronny LeBlanc to find out why.

The concept of Bigfoot has 2 roots.

One is Native American traditions, some of which spoke of a large, supernatural force wandering the forest. The name Sasquatch – which is often used interchangeably with Bigfoot – comes from the Sts'ailes Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. They spoke of “sasq'ets” (“hairy man”), a shapeshifting being they believed protected their land and people.

The other comes from 1958, when a logger discovered a set of 16-inch human-like footprints in the mud of a California forest. Similar footprints were discovered nearby. A local newspaper published a story about the discoveries, dubbing the creature behind them as “Bigfoot.” From there, the legend spread.

The footprints were later revealed to be an elaborate prank by a man who had carved the prints from wood and planted them in the forest. But that didn’t stop interest in Bigfoot from growing.

Across the US and Canada there have since been over 10,000 Bigfoot sightings, most of which reference a massive, ape-like creature that walks on 2 feet and is 8-10 feet tall, between 400-500 pounds, and covered in thick fur.

Among those who claim to have experienced Bigfoot is Ronny LeBlanc. He’s one of the US’ most famous Bigfoot researchers, having starred in Travel Channel’s Expedition Bigfoot.

Ronny had his first bigfoot experience at age 11. He was biking in Massachusetts’ Leominster state forest and the surrounding area suddenly went quiet.

“No birds, no sounds, eerily quiet,” he told Roca.

And then it wasn’t: Trees started shaking around him; the ground vibrated. But he didn’t see anything. He didn’t have an answer at the time, but the experience stayed in the back of his mind for 25 years.

Then in 2012, a couple found a set of footprints in the mud of the same forest. The prints were 10.5 inches long but several inches wide. The prints had toes and looked human, and were too large to be a bear’s.

The couple called Ronny, a local friend, who made casts of the prints. “All the things started connecting, even though it became stranger,” Ronny said. He has since spent much of his life researching and hunting Bigfoot.

We went with Ronny to Leominster state park, where there have been numerous sightings like the one Ronny had when he was 11.

Ronny believes what he experienced as a child is a Bigfoot ritual called “cloaking,” in which an adolescent Bigfoot – invisible to the human eye – jumps in front of a human and waves 3 times as initiation. Bigfoot can therefore be sensed or experienced, without being seen.

Ronny has also suggested a relationship between Bigfoot and UFOs.

Several people, including Ronny, have spotted mysterious orange orbs in the sky above Leominster. In the area around one local cemetery he took us to, multiple people claim to have seen flying saucers. In one case, someone claimed to have been abducted by aliens here.

Ronny thinks that the frequency of Bigfoot and UFO sightings means the area could be a portal, through which UFOs transport Bigfoot to Earth and back. That would also help explain why a live creature has never been found.

While Ronny can’t explain anything for certain, he says his Bigfoot experiences have been like a “magnetic force,” which he can’t escape. He thinks he’s meant “to spread awareness about what these things may be, and help people explore a lot more going on around us than we might realize.”

And to the non-believers?

“There will be people that will never believe in it and have an experience, and that’s OK. But there are other people that have had an experience [or] will have one, and all these things will start making sense.”

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

🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Judge Judy or Dr. Phil: More iconic daytime TV host? 🧐🧐Judge Judy: 74.6%Dr. Phil: 25.4%

Yesterday's Question:

Is it possible to have a trusted social media platform in a polarized country?

Carl from Sacramento: "I think if you have someone running it that truly has integrity, honesty, and a desire to be fair, then, yes, it could happen. But it would take quite a bit of hard work to keep it that way."

Danny from Under a rock: "No, even in the comments section on Roca's Instagram, there are people from both sides accusing Roca of being biased towards the other side. At the end of the day, society is so polarized that unless the "facts" perfectly align with someone's preconceived narrative, no platform will be 100% trusted.

Bill from Colorado: "Yes. And it’s possible to trust an arsonist to run the fire department."

🧠 Final Thoughts

We hope all of your weeks are off to a great start. Thank you again for checking out our merch – or should you be thanking us, for making your holiday shopping so easy? ;)

Happy Tuesday!

Max and Max