🌊 Noam-eo and Jeff-iet
Coming soon: Gene-edited veggies, $123M jewel heist conviction, and Khan’s chaos
22 years ago today, Shrek came out in theaters. A tantalizing fact about that cinematic masterpiece is that Shrek’s voice actor was supposed to be Chris Farley, but he died before he finished recording his voice-over. Unfortunately, he died before his voice-over for the movie was complete. Mike Myers did a great job as his replacement, but Donkey really could've used a "living in a swamp down by the river" speech.
In today's edition:
Coming soon: Gene-edited veggies
$123M jewel heist conviction
🔑 Key Stories
Attack on North Carolina Power Grid
Food startup Pairwise launched the first CRISPR-edited food available to US consumers
CRISPR is a gene editing tech created in 2012. Pairwise is a US startup that applies CRISPR to food to make it healthier or better to consume
On Tuesday, Pairwise announced it had partnered with a major food service company to sell the first CRISPR-edited food in the US. The first product is modified mustard greens that have been engineered to have better taste and texture than typical greens
The greens are available at restaurants in several US cities and will be sold to supermarkets later this year
Unlike genetically modified food (GMO) - which integrates genes from other species - CRISPR directly edits genes. That speeds up the timeline: New GMO foods can take decades to crossbreed; CRISPR can produce gene-edited species in less than 4 years
More Epstein Ties
2 of the US’ most influential scholars confirmed to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) previously unknown Jeffrey Epstein ties
Noam Chomsky is a professor at MIT and the University of Arizona and the author of 150+ books; Leon Botstein is the president of NYC’s Bard College
Chomsky had previously acknowledged having spent time with Epstein. Per WSJ, he now confirmed that Epstein transferred $270k to one of Chomsky’s bank accounts, although he says those were his own funds and that Epstein only helped move the money
Botstein acknowledged receiving $150k from Epstein in 2016, which he donated to Bard College
A judge rejected Elizabeth Holmes’ last-minute attempt to avoid prison during her appeal process
Holmes – now 39 – founded biotech company Theranos when she was 19 and through it became a billionaire. Theranos later collapsed amid allegations of fraud and deception, though, and she was later convicted of fraud and sentenced to 11 years in jail
She appealed the sentence and petitioned a judge to let her remain free while that pends
On Tuesday, though, the judge rejected that petition and said she must report to jail by May 30. The judge also ruled she and 1 other Theranos executive owe $452M to victims
Holmes has a 1-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter. She became pregnant with her daughter after her January 2022 conviction, and has cited that as a reason that her imprisonment should be delayed. Holmes has also said she is broke and can’t pay back fraud victims
Cologne: Most Sexually Permissive?
Lust magazine named Cologne, Germany, the world’s most sexually liberal city in its 2nd biennial ranking
Cologne is Germany’s 4th most-populous city, with 1.1M people. It is the home of several major corporations and is known for its architecture, including the world’s tallest cathedral
This month, Lust ranked Cologne the world’s most “sexually permissive and liberal” city, displacing New York City, which fell to #11. Cologne has 17 gay bars, 19 sex shops, and 23 LGBT events; legalized prostitution; and many gender-related legal protections
West Hollywood was #2; Amsterdam was #3; Madrid #4; and Berlin #5
Lust’s editors said New York dropped to 11th place “not because there is less sex-positive life locally - but much more because the competition has become stronger worldwide”
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Das justice: A German court convicted 5 men of breaking into a museum and stealing 21 pieces of jewelry worth $123M. Their sentences range from 4 to 6 years
Fast & Royal-less: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle claimed to have been involved in a “near catastrophic” 2-hour car chase through NYC on Tuesday. They said paparazzi chased them through Manhattan
No country for ice hockey: Phoenix rejected a plan to build a new arena for its NHL team, the Arizona Coyotes. The blow jeopardizes the team’s future in Phoenix
Senior and ready to mingle: The Bachelor franchise is introducing a new show called “The Golden Bachelor” that will feature contestants in their 60s or older
Ketchin’ up with the times: Kraft Heinz unveiled a customizable sauce dispenser called the “Heinz Remix.” It may pilot it at restaurants by the end of the year
California vaxxin’: Federal officials authorized an avian flu vaccine for emergency use on California condors. 21 condors have died from the outbreak so far
👇 What do you think?
Would you rather...
What is an obscure invention you are grateful for?
Reply to this email with your answers!
See yesterday's results below the Wrap!
🌯 Roca Wrap
Within minutes of Imran Khan’s arrest last Tuesday, thousands of protesters hit the streets.
The events since risk throwing Pakistan – a nuclear-armed country of 230M people – into chaos.
Khan was born into an affluent Pakistani family in 1952. He attended school in Pakistan and then Britain, where he excelled at cricket. He attended Oxford, where he became captain of the cricket team, then played for Pakistan’s national team.
Pakistan never won the sport’s top trophy, the Cricket World Cup, by the time of Khan’s retirement. In 1988, though, Pakistan’s president personally asked him to come out of retirement.
4 years later, Khan led Pakistan to victory and became an international icon.
Khan lived in Britain and married a British socialite.
In the mid-1990s, though, he claims to have had a spiritual awakening. He became devoutly religious and moved back to Pakistan, where he opened a cancer hospital.
In 1996, Khan launched his Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI) party. He spent the next 20 years railing against the corruption of Pakistan’s politicians. Khan grew a loyal following, but it never amounted to much politically.
Pakistan is technically a democracy, however the country’s military is generally seen as controlling politics behind the scenes. Khan became close with the military, and in 2018, was elected prime minister.
Khan promised to deliver a “new Pakistan” that was stable, prosperous, and free of corruption. But over the next 4 years, he faced a series of economic crises and fell out with the military.
Last April, Pakistan’s parliament voted to toss Khan out of power. Khan alleged a coup, and tensions have been high in the country since.
Khan – who polls show is Pakistan’s most popular politician – hit the road to galvanize support and retake power. Campaigning city to city he held rallies where he blasted the military and politicians for being corrupt and alleged a US-backed plot to overthrow him.
The government and military accused him of being corrupt and inciting violence. They brought corruption and terrorism charges and banned TV stations from broadcasting his speeches.
In October, Khan predicted that he would be assassinated: “4 individuals sitting behind closed doors decided to get me killed,” he said. “They will say it is a religious fanatic.”
A month later, an alleged religious fanatic shot Khan while he held a rally. Khan survived and went on to blame 3 of the country’s most powerful people for planning it. Despite being wheelchair-bound, he continued to campaign.
Then last week, Khan presented himself at a court in relation to some of the charges he faces. Anti-corruption police entered the building and arrested him.
Khan’s party then released a pre-recorded video: “By the time you will receive these words of mine, I will have been detained on incorrect charges,” he said in it. “The time has come for all of you to come and struggle for your rights.”
The reaction was immediate, with violent protests breaking out across the country. The government doubled down, though, arresting senior members of Khan’s party a day later.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared Khan’s arrest unlawful and he was released from custody on Friday.
In protest of his arrest, protesters breached the army’s headquarters, set fire to government buildings, and stormed an army general’s residence. Police have reported at least 8 deaths and 1,400 arrests
Meanwhile, Khan and the police are in a standoff.
Khan locked himself in his home, where he has spent the last week broadcasting critical speeches and tweets against military and government leaders.
Police are barricading the surrounding roads and accuse him of harboring “terrorists.”
There are no signs the unrest will stop soon.
Will chaos engulf the world’s 5th-most populous country?
If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!
🌊 Roca Clubhouse
I prefer to drink my water with...🧊
No ice: 52%
What is your go-to shoe?
Sophie from Columbia: “No shoe! I would rather go barefoot all day every day!! But in public places, a prefer a flip flop if it’s appropriate. If not, a nice ballet flat”
Doug from Kentucky: “My go to shoe is a pair of vintage Bass Weenun loafers. I have worn Weejusns since 1959. The first pair purchased cost $15.95. Today they sell for $165.00. I’m 75 now and basically wear the same choice of wardrobe since High School.”
Jenny from Ontario: “I love sneakers of any kind! I have well over 50 pairs. Mostly Adidas, Michael Kors, Converse, New Balance, and Nike. I never compromise style for comfort.”
🧠 Final Thoughts
Congrats on making it past Hump Day – we hope you finish the weekend strong. Also, we’re planning a potential next Roca Roadtrip. If you have thoughts on where we should send Frost, send ’em in.
See you tomorrow!
–Max and Max!