🌊 Just Quit It: Nike in Trouble

Plus: MIT creates mind-controlled prosthetic leg...

Glad we won’t see our Washington Post obituaries…

It’s fun to compare W obituariesashington Post. Yesterday, they published the following headline for the death of Republican Senator Jim Inhofe: “James M. Inhofe, Senator Who Denied Climate Change, Dies at 89.” It’s a slight difference from the tone of their obituary of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose headline read: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48.”

Wow, he sure was austere, huh? Every time we read about an ISIS terrorist attack in the 2010s we thought, “That guy — nay, scholar — sure is austere!”

📉 Confidence in education plummets

😰 Nike is not doing it

🍿 Beloved franchise to get another movie

–Max and Max


Nike in Crisis

Nike stock is down 32% this year as investors call for its CEO’s ouster

  • Late last month, Nike – the world’s most valuable athletic-wear company – warned that it expected a fall in revenue in the year ahead. The day following that, its stock suffered its biggest percentage drop since going public in 1980. It’s since continued to fall and is now down 32% year-to-date

  • On Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that investors are calling for “regime change,” i.e. replacing CEO John Donahoe. Under him, the company’s stock has fallen 50%+ from a 2021 peak

Dig Deeper

  • Nike is experiencing lower demand for classic shoes as consumers switch to upstart brands like On and Hoka. One recent study found that in the six months to April, 2% fewer consumers identified Nike as their favorite shoe brand (New Balance gained the most)

  • Beyond that, an attempt to pivot to direct-to-consumer sales disappointed, yielding lower-than-expected returns


Mind-Control Prosthetic

MIT researchers created a mind-controlled prosthetic leg that can restore natural walking

  • The new procedure replicates healthy leg structure in amputees by stitching together leg muscles in the remaining parts of their legs, thereby preserving the signaling between muscles and the brain. This muscle structure – known as an AMI – is linked to a robotic leg

  • A study published in Nature Medicine tested this setup and found that participants with the AMI-linked prosthesis increased their walking speed by 41% – matching healthy legs – and navigated stairs, slopes, and obstacles 32% to 43% faster than those with standard amputations

Dig Deeper

  • The researcher who led the study – an amputee himself – noted that this is the first bionic leg fully controlled by the nervous system to demonstrate natural walking speeds and gait patterns

  • However, its effectiveness for amputations involving knees or upper-body limbs remains uncertain, and the technology is extremely limited


Put an End to Those Pesky Spam Calls

  • There are few things more frustrating than dashing across the room to answer your ringing phone, only to see “Potential Spam” on the caller ID (probably for the third time today)

  • If you want to cleanse your phone of this annoyance (and increase your personal security), you have three options:

    1. Throw your phone into the ocean

    2. Individually block each unknown caller

    3. Stop spammers from getting your number in the first place with Incogni

  • We highly recommend option 3, and not just because electronic garbage is bad for aquatic life

Dig Deeper

  • Incogni’s automated personal information removal service hunts down and removes your breached personal information from the web. Plus, Incogni will reduce the number of spam emails in your inbox

  • Roca readers can get 55% off an annual plan using code “ROCA10”

  • Get started with Incogni here


US Confidence in Education 📉

A new study by Gallup found that only 36% of American adults have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in American higher education

  • Trust in higher education fell among all political groups, although the decline was steepest among Republicans, whose confidence in higher ed declined from 56% to 20% between 2015 and 2024. 50% of Republicans now have little or no confidence in higher education

  • Confidence among independents fell from 48% to 35%; among Democrats, from 68% to 56%

  • For context, in 2015, 57% of Americans had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the system, and just 10% had “very little” or “no” confidence

Dig Deeper

  • Of those who aren’t confident in the system, 41% blamed it on political agendas, 37% cited “don’t teach right things,” and 28% blamed costs

  • Of those who are confident, 27% cited the “value of being educated,” 24% cited increased opportunities from studying, and 19% cited “provides good training”


Kyiv Hospital Attack

33 people were killed in Kyiv, Ukraine, after a Russian missile barrage that struck a children’s hospital

  • On Monday, Russia launched its largest barrage on the Ukrainian capital in months – a daytime missile strike that killed at least 33 and injured 100+. It was part of a broader attack that consisted of 40 Russian missiles striking five Ukrainian cities

  • The targets included a children’s hospital, where 670 children and 1,000 staff were when the missiles struck. The attacks left at least four Kyiv children dead – although it’s unclear if those casualties were at the hospital – and killed a doctor

Dig Deeper

  • In the past, Ukraine has shot down the type of missile used in the barrage. This time, though, Ukrainian officials said the missiles flew at “extremely low” altitudes – as low as 50 meters above the ground – which prevents missile defense systems from shooting them down

  • They also said that the missiles are being equipped with technology that enables them to evade Ukraine’s missile defense systems

  • The strikes came on the eve of a NATO summit in Washington, at which the US promised Ukraine a new set of American anti-missile batteries

Some Quick Stories for the Office

🎙️ A Philadelphia radio host was pushed out after interviewing President Biden. She asked questions selected by Biden’s campaign, violating the station’s neutrality policies

📉 US office vacancy rates hit a record high of 20.1% in Q2. Moody’s projects the figure will continue to rise until 2026 as long-term leases signed before the pandemic end

🎬 Paramount Pictures released the trailer for “Gladiator II,” the Ridley Scott-directed sequel to 2000’s “Gladiator.” It stars Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal, and Denzel Washington and with release scheduled for November

🇺🇦 NATO is expected to promise Ukraine an “irreversible” path to alliance membership in a likely announcement during NATO’s week-long summit on Wednesday. President Biden opened the summit by promising Ukraine a new set of American anti-missile systems

🏥 A doctor specializing in Parkinson’s visited the White House eight times in eight months. The White House said most visits were unrelated to Biden, who saw the doctor three times in three years for his “annual physical”


🤔 Yesterday’s Question: If money weren’t a factor, would you send your kids to private or public high school?

Our 4 daughters attended public school but public schools have drastically changed in the last few years so our choice now would be private school. My husband and I are both public school teachers so that says a lot.

Michelle from Allentown

I would send my kids (whom are imaginary at this point) to a private school, specifically to a private school that uses classical education. I won’t explain what classical education is in depth because we all have internet access, but just think of all of the great thinkers throughout history like Einstein and so many others like the some of the famous Greek philosophers. Classical education in short focuses on critical thinking, mastering the basics, and focusing on the facts, things that our education system fails to do.

J from Iowa

I would not send my kids to a private school because of the life experiences that it provides. I went to a Title I high school where I had the opportunity to interact with people that I would not have had the opportunity to know otherwise. We would have never crossed paths because that's what happens with people of different socioeconomic statuses. That, sadly, is how America currently works. Private school just takes that a step further and escalates the stratification of the issue. That is something that I don't want to help perpetuate. I want my kids to grow up knowing that people are different from them and being able to relate and form friendships with anyone. My experiences have led me to believe the best in people and want to learn more from people's different experiences. That is something that in private school, I believe, is much harder to find.

Eli from North Carolina

🧠 Today’s Question: Do you think the media has covered Biden’s cognitive state honestly over the last few years?

Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🚔 Apple, meet tree: A woman visiting her son in an Arkansas juvenile detention center faces theft charges after she allegedly broke the glass of a cancer fundraising candy machine and stole candy

⚽️ Brace(s) yourself: 16-year-old Lamine Yamal became the youngest-ever player to score at the Euros. He netted a 25-yard shot (below) for Spain in its semifinal match against France en route to a 2-1 victory

Who wasn’t scoring goals in the Euro semifinals at 16?

🗑 Litter-al news: New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled the city’s first official trash bins. Starting June 1, 2026, small residential buildings — including brownstones — will have to buy the $50 bins

🦘 Skippy secured: Skippy the kangaroo was captured after six months on the loose in Germany. Someone found him 50 miles from his owner’s home

🍿 I’m a believer: DreamWorks announced that “Shrek 5” is officially in development with an intended July 1, 2026, release date


The Problem Country

“There is nothing good in that country. Nothing. Just problems. It is a problem country.”

So said my Senegalese driver Mamadou about The Gambia.

The Gambia – the smallest country in mainland Africa – looks like it shouldn’t exist. Jutting into Senegal, it’s around 25 miles (40 km) tall and 200 miles (323 km) wide.

The Gambia looks the way it does because of colonization: The British, French, Dutch, and Portuguese competed for control of this part of West Africa. Of particular importance were the region’s rivers, which let the Europeans easily ship goods and slaves from the African interior to their boats waiting in the Atlantic and from there to Europe and the Americas. 

The Portuguese, French, and British eventually decided to divvy the territory up: The French took the territory around the Senegal River (Senegal’s northern border); the British around the Gambia River; and the Portuguese around the Casamance River (near Senegal’s southern border).

The Portuguese later agreed to sell their holdings to the French, who incorporated the region into Senegal, thereby giving it its reverse “C” shape.

The British, though, refused to sell. The Gambia thus ended up a British colony jutting into French Senegal. London ruled the territory for exactly 200 years, from 1765 to 1965.

Upon independence in 1965, the country’s first ruler, Dawda Jawara, inherited an impoverished country with practically no infrastructure or institutions. Jawara’s military launched a coup 16 years later while he was attending Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding. The coup failed because Jawara called in the Senegalese military, and it restored order.

In the coup attempt’s aftermath, The Gambia and Senegal announced that the countries would merge into “Senegambia.” That lasted from 1981 until 1989 when it collapsed and the old borders were restored. Then, in 1994, an officer named Yahya Jammeh led his troops into the capital and overthrew Jawara.

Jammeh promised to develop the country and strengthen its democracy. As he ruled, though, he became a despot: He cultivated a private force that tortured and killed his opponents, established a cult of personality – he claimed he could cure AIDS – and turned The Gambia into a pariah state.

But in 2016, 32 years into his reign, Jammeh miscalculated: He allowed relatively free elections, thinking no one could defeat him. Instead, he lost. When he refused to leave, foreign troops intervened and threw him out. A new president has been in power since.

That’s the 30,000-foot overview of The Gambia. Beyond that, all I knew entering the country was what my driver had told me: That it was a bad place, a “problem country.”

Would he be proven right?

Final Thoughts

And to think the Brits issued a heat advisory for 78!

Central Park felt like 96 yesterday; Las Vegas just clocked its fifth consecutive day over 115 degrees; and Houston is battling upper-90s heat without power. Listen, we love the Brits and developed a newfound appreciation for the country from our recent reporting trip to its rust belt, but this is exactly why they blew a 13-colony lead. Also, what’s a kilometer?

–Max and Max