🌊 Humanity’s First Kiss

The origins of the first romantic kiss, fictional character passes away, and Hiroshima: Past and present

13 years ago, a Nepalese man named Hari Budha Magar was serving with the British Army in Afghanistan. While on patrol one day, he stepped on an explosive device detonated that left him severely wounded. American soldiers rescued him and took him to a hospital, where doctors amputated both of his legs.

Well, last week, he became the first double above-the-leg amputee to climb Mt. Everest. So if you need some Monday motivation to send that first email…

In today's edition:

  • The origins of the first romantic kiss

  • Fictional character passes away

  • Hiroshima: Past and present

 🔑 Key Stories

Romantic Kissing Origins

A report found that the practice of romantic kissing may have begun earlier than previously thought

  • Scientists debate the origin or biological basis of romantic kissing, which some studies have suggested less than half of human societies practice

  • The earliest known depiction of romantic kissing was from an Indian manuscript dated to 1,500 BC

  • But last week, Danish researchers published a report in the journal Science in which they claim to have deciphered a Mesopotamian text from ~2,500 BC that depicts romantic kissing. That indicates romantic kissing happened earlier than thought

Dig Deeper

  • The researchers suggested that the existence of romantic kissing much earlier than ever discovered before suggests it isn’t a recent invention but a long-term human behavior. It also supports the theory that kissing was widespread and didn’t originate in one single place

Ukraine Updates

The US said it overestimated the aid it has given to Ukraine by $3B, Reuters reported

  • The US has given Ukraine ~$23.5B worth of supplies from its military stockpiles. Officials are supposed to value those at their depreciated cost, i.e. their purchase price minus depreciation over time

  • US officials said some agencies valued them at how much it will cost to replace them, a different metric. That means the US overestimated how much it gave

  • In other news, the US indicated it will allow its allies to give Ukraine US-made jets – a major escalation in Western military aid to Ukraine

DC Police Officer Arrested

A top Washington, DC police officer was arrested on Friday for lying about his ties to the Proud Boys

  • In December 2020, the Proud Boy’s leader, Enrique Tarrio, stole a Black Lives Matter flag from a church in Washington, DC and set it on fire. He later pleaded guilty to that

  • On Friday, prosecutors charged a 24-year veteran of the DC police with tipping Tarrio off about his pending arrest and lying about his relationship with Tarrio. Prosecutors say he and Tarrio communicated 500+ times, and that he told Tarrio, “I support you all”

  • The officer has pleaded not guilty

Dig Deeper

  • The officer’s lawyer said that his interactions with Tarrio were part of his job and were necessary to prevent violence between the Proud Boys and other groups. He said the officer “was only communicating with these individuals because the mission required it” and that he “was instrumental” in securing Tarrio’s arrest

TikTokers Sue Montana

5 TikTokers filed a lawsuit challenging Montana’s TikTok ban

  • Last week, Montana became the first US state to enact a statewide TikTok ban. The law – which takes effect on Jan 1, 2024 – punishes TikTok and app stores that offer the app

  • Hours after Montana’s governor signed the bill, 5 TikTokers with 500,000+ combined followers sued Montana’s attorney general in federal court

  • The suit says the ban violates free speech and exceeds the state’s authority. It equated it with banning a news outlet “because of who owns it”

Dig Deeper

  • “While the Chinese Communist Party may try to hide their nefarious spying and collection of individuals’ personal, private, sensitive information…the governor has an obligation to protect Montanans and their individual privacy rights from… serious, grave threats,” the governor’s press secretary said in a statement. A spokesperson for his office also said they expected a legal challenge and are prepared for it

🍿 Popcorn


  • Zuck vs. Musk: Instagram is testing a new text-based app that was built to compete with Twitter. The app is expected to debut as early as June

  • It’s a Block party: 46-year-old club pro Michael Block stunned the golfing world with a top-15 finish at the PGA Championship. He hit a hole-in-one on Sunday and took home ~$300k in prize money

  • Impact was Trevi-al: Climate protestors poured diluted charcoal into the iconic Trevi Fountain in Rome, turning it black. The protestors were condemning fossil fuels


  • City of burger-ly lust: A Philadelphia restaurant that opened Friday is serving a burger with a $700 price tag. It’s made with A5 Wagyu beef, caviar, truffle, and other delicacies

  • Bit quiet, innit? A British science teacher plans to spend 60 days in isolation on Rockall, a remote cliff in the Atlantic Ocean. The previous record is 45 days

  • RIP, Rick Dalton: Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino announced that Rick Dalton, Leonardo DiCaprio’s fictional character in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, died Friday

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🌯 Roca Wrap

In August 1945, the US needed a target for its nuclear bomb.

Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, bringing the US into World War II. Weeks later, the US launched the Manhattan Project.

Over the next 4 years, that program sought to harness the power of nuclear fission to create the world’s most powerful weapon. The US successfully tested that weapon in July 1945, a month after Germany surrendered.

By that point, Japan had no path to victory, yet its troops kept forcing the Americans to liberate island after island in deadly battles. The US faced the prospect of invading mainland Japan, which its government estimated could cost up to 800,000 US lives and 10,000,000 Japanese ones.

The US decided to use the nuclear bomb instead. But what would be the target?

The US wanted to use the bomb to force Japan’s unconditional surrender and show off the power of their new weapon. They sought a target that was highly visible; not yet destroyed; had good weather; and was within range of US bombers. Much of Japan – including Tokyo – was “practically rubble” by that point, leaving few options.

One city met those specifications, though: Hiroshima.

A seaside city of 250,000 people, US war planners wrote in 1945 that it was the “largest untouched target.” It was also densely populated and had factories that were supporting Japan’s war efforts.

Ahead of the bombing, President Truman delivered an ultimatum: Surrender unconditionally or face “prompt and utter destruction.” Japan refused to cooperate, and the plan moved forward.

At 8:15 PM on August 6, 1945, a US bomber dropped “Little Boy” on Hiroshima.

~80,000 people died immediately, with thousands more later dying from radiation sickness. A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9; on August 15, Japan’s emperor unconditionally surrendered.

In Hiroshima, nearly all buildings within 2 kilometers of “ground zero” were destroyed. In total, an estimated 70% of the city’s buildings were destroyed. Yet because the bomb was detonated in mid-air, rather than on the ground, the city escaped long-term radiation.

Hiroshima’s ruins were cleared by March 1946. By 1947, most shops, streets, and homes had been repaired. Normal life resumed, and the city became Japan’s 11th-largest, with 1.1M people.

The US has since become Japan’s closest ally, and Hiroshima has become a notable symbol in international diplomacy. In 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima. He said its memory “must never fade” because “that memory allows us to fight complacency.”

On Friday, President Biden became the second sitting president to visit Hiroshima. He was guided by Japan’s prime minister, whose relatives died in the bombing. The White House said Biden would “pay his respects” but not apologize – the same approach Obama took.

Japan’s government said the visit “deepened their understanding of the reality of the atomic bombings and joined their hearts in consoling the souls of lost lives.”

Yet it comes as many in Japan are calling for the country to secure its own nuclear weapons to counter threats from China and North Korea, both of whom are nuclear-armed.

Last week, Henry Kissinger, arguably the most influential diplomat in world history, predicted that Japan would have nuclear weapons within 5 years.

What will be the lesson of Hiroshima?

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

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

More enjoyable art activity?

Drawing: 43%

Painting: 57%

Yesterday's Question:

Just 20 Qs!

🧠 Final Thoughts

We hope everyone had great weekends! Also, some exciting news: We’re expanding our app beta today. If you signed up for it but haven’t yet received a download invite, today may be your lucky day. Stay tuned…

–Max and Max