🌊 Too Machu Trouble

Shakeup in the presidential cabinet, Return of the Queen 🐝, and Roca in Ethiopia

Throwing around a popcorn lid in the kitchen can spark great ideas. In fact, had Walter Morrison and his future wife Lucile not done so after a Thanksgiving Dinner in 1937, we would not have the frisbee today. The couple later turned to the more aerodynamic cake pan, before inventing the frisbee as we know it 66 years ago today. We really wish they kept the residual caramel flavor...

In today's edition:

  • Shakeup in the presidential cabinet

  • Return of the Queen 🐝

  • Roca in Ethiopia

 🔑 Key Stories

Peru Closes Machu Picchu

417 tourists were stranded at Machu Picchu after the government indefinitely closed the site

  • Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Incan citadel in the Andes mountains. It is one of the 7 Wonders of the World and Peru’s most popular tourist attraction

  • Peru has been in a political crisis since its former president was impeached, arrested, and charged with rebellion in December. Clashes between protesters and police have since killed 55+ people

  • The government said it closed the attraction “to protect the safety of tourists and the population in general.” It later evacuated all the stranded tourists

Dig Deeper

  • On Saturday, Peruvian police stormed a university in the nation's capital and arrested 200+ people who they claimed were involved in violent protests. Protesters are calling on Peru's new president to step down, and for the government to hold new elections

Lunar New Year's Eve Shooting

A shooter killed 10 and injured 10 more Saturday night in Monterey Park, a city near Los Angeles

  • The shooter indiscriminately fired in a dance hall where people were celebrating Lunar New Year’s Eve, witnesses said, before fleeing. An assailant later entered another dance hall and fled after being disarmed; it’s unclear if both events are linked

  • Police say the shooter was a 72-year-old Asian male. On Sunday, they breached a van linked to the crime and found the suspect dead by self-inflicted gunshot

Dig Deeper

  • Police say the investigation into a motive is still ongoing, but that the suspect is believed to have been the sole perpetrator

Eurozone to Avoid Recession?

The Eurozone will avoid a recession in 2023, a survey of economists by Consensus Economics predicted

  • Last month, a majority of economists surveyed predicted that the Eurozone — a group of 20 European countries — would fall into a recession in 2023. It was the latest of many grim predictions about the global economy in the year ahead

  • Yet most economists now think a recession is unlikely, the survey found, citing supply chain improvements, government aid, and China’s reopening

  • The prediction suggests the global economic outlook may be improving

Dig Deeper

  • Last week, the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland — widely considered the world's most consequential economic summit — struck a cautiously optimistic tone. Many economists and policymakers now believe that major economies will be able to avoid a recession, a departure from previous pessimism

Shakeup in Biden’s Cabinet

President Biden is expected to replace Ron Klain as his chief of staff

  • The chief of staff oversees the president’s strategy, daily activities, and agenda. They are among the most powerful people in US politics

  • Ron Klain has worked with Biden for 30 years and served as Biden’s chief of staff since he was elected president. Many see him as the most influential person in Biden’s White House

  • Sources say Klain now plans to step down, and that Biden will appoint Jeff Zients — who helped lead the administration's Covid-19 response — as his replacement

Dig Deeper

Another Way to be Happy!

Sponsored by Betterhelp

People are more stressed and anxious than ever before   

  • Reading Roca helps, but for an extra boost, you could try Betterhelp

  • BetterHelp provides online therapy services. It’s the world’s largest licensed therapy platform, with 3M+ users

  • Betterhelp lets you get therapy on your schedule: No waiting for an appointment and no co-pays, all from any device and the privacy of your home

  • Getting started is easy: Take the quiz and within 48 hours you will be matched to a therapist who fits your needs and preferences

Dig Deeper

  • Your subscription will include one weekly live therapy session, unlimited messaging, group sessions, and more. Right now, Roca readers can get 25% off with the code “RocaNews” automatically applied 

🍿 Popcorn


  • All the single sheikhs: Beyoncé performed her first concert in 4 years on Saturday. The 41-year-old's return to the stage took place at a resort in Dubai

  • Pizza rat dolphin? Dolphins were seen swimming in the Bronx River in New York for the first time in more than 5 years. Authorities are telling New Yorkers to back off

  • Illegal imm-egg-ration: Border patrol officials have noted an increase in egg smugglers from Mexico to the US. US egg prices have more than doubled in the last year


  • Mmmm... tasty: A viral TikTok of a pregnant woman ordering a modified "Texas Bacon Cheesesteak Melt" at Waffle House has inspired a nationwide trend

  • #SubtitleGate at Sundance: Sundance film festival jurors walked out of a film's premiere due to the lack of subtitles on screen for deaf audience members

  • Vamos a la prison: Prosecutors say that Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of Theranos, bought an escape ticket to Mexico after her conviction. Her attorneys say she presumed her acquittal when she bought it

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

Which way do you sleep?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

When was a time something happened that was too good to be true?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

Roca co-founder Max Frost and writer Alex Norris spent 2.5 weeks in Ethiopia earlier this month. Frost will be writing about it here in the coming newsletters. 

Imagine if each US state had its own language and culture: If New Yorkers spoke New Yorkian, Pennsyvlanians spoke Pennsylvanian, and Texans spoke Texan.

Then imagine that the population was divided religiously, with 40% of Americans Orthodox Christian, 30% Muslim, and 20% Protestant. 

Then imagine that a dynasty of Pennsylvanian emperors had unified the US and controlled the government for nearly a century, before being overthrown by communists, who were later overthrown by New Yorkers.  

Ethiopia is something like that. 


Today, Ethiopia is the world’s 12th-most and Africa’s 2nd-most populous country, with 120M people.

Some form of Ethiopia has existed for over a thousand years, but the country’s modern borders took shape a century ago, when a dynasty based in the country’s north took over neighboring territories. Around that time, Ethiopia fought off an Italian invasion, becoming the only African nation to avoid European colonization. 

The same dynasty ruled the country until 1974, when communist rebels toppled the government and executed its emperor. In the following decades, Ethiopia became synonymous with famine, war, and poverty. 

Then in the 1990s, a group of rebels overthrew the communists. They created a new government, at the top of which sat one rebel group – the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF. Under that government, Ethiopia was a one-party state, like China, that emphasized economic development over all. 

That group ruled until 2018, when it lost power to a new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, and his party. 

Abiy promised to turn Ethiopia into a democracy. He freed political prisoners, encouraged press freedom, and promised elections. In 2019, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for signing a peace deal with Eritrea, a neighboring country that had seceded from Ethiopia in the 1990s after a war. 

In those years, lots of good news was coming out of Ethiopia. Under the surface, though, a crisis was brewing. 

This is where it gets complicated:

Ethiopia has 80+ ethnic groups, most of which have their own languages. The largest ethnic groups each have their own state. 

The TPLF were from the Tigray ethnic group, which was based in Tigray state. Abiy was from a different group. After taking power, he pushed the TPLF out of government, and they accused him of repressing them. In November 2020, TPLF rebels attacked a military base, and civil war began.

Between November 2020 and November 2022, war ravaged northern Ethiopia, killing an estimated 600,000 people. It was one of this century’s deadliest conflicts. 

To return to the US analogy, the war went like this: 

In November 2020, New Yorkers attacked a US military base in New York. The military invaded New York, seized New York City, and sent the New Yorkers fleeing into the mountains. 

But the New Yorkers counterattacked and began marching toward Washington, DC. It looked like they may overthrow the government, but then Canada invaded New York, and Pennsylvanians and New Jerseyans rose up and fought the New Yorkers off their territory. After months of brutal war, this November, the government and the New Yorkers signed a peace deal. 

In Ethiopian terms: The Tigrayans attacked a military base; the military chased them into the mountains. Then the Tigrayans counterattacked and invaded 2 neighboring states, Amhara and Afar. Those states raised ethnic militias to fight off the Tigrayans, and neighboring Eritrea invaded Tigray. The war hit a stalemate, and a peace deal was signed this November. 

No one knows if the war is done for good, or if it is just on pause. 


We arrived in Ethiopia less than 2 months after that peace deal was signed. We spent nearly 3 weeks exploring the country, trying to learn about what Ethiopia was like beyond the headlines.

The trip proved an eye-opening adventure. We can’t wait to share the experiences with you here in the coming newsletters.

We love hearing from you. Send your thoughts and questions to [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you use an air fryer?

Yes: 53%No: 47%

Yesterday's Question:

Just 20 Qs!

🧠 Final Thoughts

We hope you all had great weekends. Frost is excited to be back from Ethiopia, which proved the most adventurous Roca Roadtrip yet. Worse than the jet lag, though, was returning to a brutal Bills playoff defeat. 

Have great Mondays!

Max and Max