🌊 No More... Monkey Labor?

Bad news for stocks 😰, here lies a noble mountain lion... and the race to hack your brain

As writers, its really important that we acknowledge National Proofreading Day. Irregardless of your profession, proofreading is an essential activity for every day life. Even in a world with the multi-purpose em dash (“—“), their are grammar mistakes everywhere. The people that don't take proofreading serious need to do better

(Note: There were 6 errors in this paragraph. See if you can find them — answers are in Final Thoughts). 

In today's edition:

  • Bad news for stocks 😰

  • Here lies a noble mountain lion...

  • The race to hack your brain

 🔑 Key Stories

Powell Delivers Bad News for Stocks

Federal Reserve (Fed) head Jerome Powell warned of bigger interest rate hikes, causing stocks to fall

  • The Fed sets key interest rates and controls the supply of money in the economy. It fights inflation by raising interest rates, which takes money out of the economy and slows economic growth

  • Investors closely track signals about the Fed’s interest rate plans to gauge the economy’s health

  • On Tuesday, Powell told Congress that future interest rates are “likely to be higher than previously anticipated.” Major stock indexes fell more than 1% on the news; they are down 3.5%-5% in the month

Dig Deeper

  • Powell said that “if the totality of the data” shows the Fed needs to raise interest rates faster, it would be ready to do so. He added, “We’re looking at a reversal” of the situation a month prior, when the Fed anticipated slower interest rate raises because inflation appeared to be declining

HelloFresh Drops Monkey Labor

HelloFresh will stop buying Thai coconut milk over allegations of forced monkey labor

  • Thailand is one of the world’s largest exporters of coconut milk and controls a large portion of the US market; HelloFresh, a German food company that sells prepared food kits, uses Thai coconut milk

  • PETA accuses Thai coconut milk producers of using forced monkey labor to retrieve coconuts. It claims the companies beat, chain up, and starve monkeys

  • Walmart, Costco, Target, Kroger, and other companies have already stopped buying Thai coconut milk; at PETA’s request, HelloFresh said on Monday it would follow suit

Dig Deeper

  • “We do not tolerate any form of animal abuse in our supply chain,” HelloFresh told Axios. “Out of an abundance of caution we will not be placing orders for coconut milk from Thailand.” PETA called the decision a “huge win” and said Thailand can’t be trusted to reduce the use of monkey labor

Japan’s New Rocket Goes Boom

Japan’s space agency (JAXA) blew up a new unmanned rocket just minutes after liftoff

  • The mission was the first test flight of Japan’s new H3 rocket, its first new rocket series in 22 years. H3 is envisioned as a low-cost rocket to carry satellites and cargo into space. It is meant to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which leads that industry

  • During a test in February, the rocket failed to lift off. On Tuesday, the rocket successfully lifted off, but its second-stage engines failed to ignite. JAXA says it was then forced to remotely destroy the rocket

  • A Japanese science minister called it “extremely regrettable”

Dig Deeper

  • The rocket was meant to serve as Japan’s flagship vehicle for deploying satellites and performing other jobs. Analysts say the failure could set JAXA back years

California Gets Pummeled

Large amounts of rain and snow are lifting parts of California out of drought

  • Years of drought in California have contributed to massive forest fires and periodic water rationing. As of August, 99.7% of California was technically in a drought; 16.6% of the state was “exceptionally” dry

  • This winter, “atmospheric rivers” – narrow bands of the atmosphere that carry water vapor – have dumped huge amounts of snow and rain on California, with one storm dumping 12 ft of snow in some areas

  • As a result, 16.7% of the state is now drought-free, and no areas are experiencing “exceptional” drought

Dig Deeper

  • Analysts say the rain and snow are a welcome development, but that California’s long-standing drought won’t be fixed until its underground water supplies are replenished. That will likely require more than a few months of rain

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🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Hugh Jackedman: In preparation for his appearance as Wolverine in Deadpool 3, Hugh Jackman is eating 8,000 calories a day, per a picture he posted

  • The sweetest plant on earth: Hershey announced new plant-based Reese's peanut butter cups and a plant-based almond chocolate bar

  • "He was a good lion 😢": Famed Los Angeles mountain lion P-22 was buried in a ceremony with tribal leaders and scientists in the Santa Monica Mountains

Wildcard 

  • Speaking of cougars...: Madonna, 64, is "Instagram official" with 29-year-old professional boxer Josh Popper. We'll do the math... the age gap is 35

  • One small step for printers: A California space company will try to launch the first 3D-printed rocket into orbit today. The launch will take place in Florida

  • Puppy miracle: A dog and 3 newborn pups emerged from the rubble of a building in Turkey nearly a month after earthquakes devastated the country

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

I tend to think more

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Today's Question:

In honor of International Women's Day, who is a woman who inspires you? 

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected Neuralink’s application to test its brain chips on humans, Reuters reported.

Elon Musk and a team of scientists launched Neuralink in 2016. The startup seeks to use brain implants, known as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), to fix physical and cognitive disabilities, including blindness, paralysis, and speech issues.

The company states its first goal is to “help people with paralysis regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices.”

Musk said even if the company doesn't achieve that goal, he is “confident at this point that we will succeed at solving many brain injury issues–spine injury issues–along the way."

He has also said they will enable “superhuman cognition” at par with the best AI of the future.

In 2019, Neuralink revealed that it was experimenting on monkeys. That same year, it said it would seek FDA approval to test its BCIs in humans by 2020.

In 2020, the FDA classified Neuralink’s BCI as a “breakthrough therapy,” fast-tracking its approval process, but approval wasn’t granted. Since then, Neuralink has missed 2 more self-imposed deadlines.

In November, Musk tweeted, “We are now confident that the Neuralink device is ready for humans.” He said that month that Neuralink had applied for FDA approval and expected to receive it within 6 months.

Sources have told Reuters that the FDA has rejected that application, though.

They said the FDA listed dozens of things the company must do before performing human tests. The changes could set Neuralink back months or years. Some analysts say Neuralink now risks falling behind other brain-chip development startups.

Of ~750 devices that currently have the FDA’s “breakthrough” status, 100+ are neurological, the FDA says. Synchron, another BCI company that seeks to fix disabilities, already has FDA approval to test its chips on humans.

Synchron received approval for human testing in July 2021, 5 years after applying. 

During its first human test, 4 patients in Australia successfully sent text messages using their minds. As of late February, Synchron had implanted two patients with the device out of a total of six planned for its first US trial.

It recently raised $75 million, including from billionaires Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

The brain race is on, but will Neuralink fall out of it?

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

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Would you rather have...

A pint of your favorite beer 🍻: 30%

A pint of your favorite ice cream 🍦: 70%

Yesterday's Question:

What activities do you like to do when you travel? Why?

Sarah from South Carolina: “Total spontaneity is key! If I'm in another country, I keep myself free to go whichever way the wind blows. Tourist attractions are cool, but I'd rather get caught up in the ebb and flow of the city and live in the moment.”

Alicia from Canada: “Our travels are based on what hiking trails are in the area. We also like to hit up museums in those areas to learn the history of the area.”

Spencer from Florida: “Honestly, anything revolving around food. Food is a huge part of culture, so what better way to immerse yourself in a place's culture than pigging out on their local cuisines?!”

🧠 Final Thoughts

We would first like to apologize to our 7th-grade English teachers for that opening paragraph. If you aren't an English teacher but still cried, we apologize to you as well.

  • its really important ➡️ it's really important

  • Irregardless ➡️ Regardless

  • every day life ➡️ everyday life

  • their are ➡️ there are

  • The people that ➡️ The people who

  • take proofreading serious ➡️ take proofreading seriously

Happy National Proofreading Day!

—Max and Max