🌊 Peso Begins Shock Therapy

ChatGPT making moves in news, extremely rare dolphin found in Greece and Roca Reports: Notes from Marjaana

First and foremost, a HUGE welcome to all of you who are getting the Current for the first time this morning.

Yesterday we brought back “Grow for Good.” We promised $1,000 to charity if you all helped us get 1,000 newsletter signups. You all blew it away. We spent the first $1,000 on Chick-fil-A lunches for the middle schoolers at the low-income middle school in the Bronx, the St. Ignatius School. We filmed the whole thing, which you can view here. Let’s keep it going: Send this link to your friends, and we’ll give out $1,000 to charity!

In today's edition:

  • ChatGPT making moves in news

  • Extremely rare dolphin found in Greece

  • Roca Reports: Notes from Marjaana

 🔑 Key Stories

Shock Therapy Begins

Argentina’s new government devalued its currency by 54% as part of economic “shock therapy”

  • Argentina faces 140% inflation and 40% of its people live in poverty. Last month, voters elected Javier Milei, a libertarian economist, as president. He promised economic “shock therapy,” i.e. aggressive reforms

  • On Wednesday, his economy minister announced the government will devalue the currency by 54%; lay off many public sector workers; pause new public works projects; and cut transportation subsidies

  • During his inaugural speech, Milei said, “In the short term, the situation will worsen, but then we’ll see the fruits of our efforts”

Dow at Record High

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at a record-high on Wednesday

  • Last month, fueled by optimism that the US Federal Reserve (“Fed”) could begin lowering interest rates, stocks had their best month since November 2020

  • On Tuesday, inflation data showed that inflation fell to 3.1% in November; on Wednesday, the Fed said it would not raise rates and released projections showing it could lower them three times next year

  • That led to a stock market rally in which the S&P, Dow, and Nasdaq all finished at year-long highs. The Dow closed the day at a record high

OpenAI’s Big News

Media conglomerate Axel Springer struck a deal to allow OpenAI’s chatbots to use its content

  • The free version of ChatGPT has knowledge of events until January 2022, and the paid until April 2023. In July, OpenAI signed a deal with the Associated Press to use its news stories

  • Axel Springer – which owns Politico, Business Insider, and numerous other outlets – and OpenAI struck a deal on Wednesday that will allow OpenAI to pull news from Axel Springer’s outlets. OpenAI will credit the news outlets for their contributions and provide links to articles

  • The deal’s financial terms were not announced

“Historic” Climate Deal

Nearly 200 countries agreed to transition away from fossil fuels

  • The UN COP28 summit – the world’s most important climate forum – was hosted by the United Arab Emirates. Many countries sought an agreement that would call on the world to “phase out” fossil fuels

  • An early draft included that language, but the final draft did not. It instead called for “transitioning away” from fossil fuels – slightly watered down, but still the most direct denunciation of fossil fuels ever

  • COP28’s president called the deal “historic”; some criticized it for not going far enough

What’s all the salt about?

Stocking up on LMNT before the holidays not only keeps you hydrated, but gives you that extra boost to wrap those gifts…and provide a genuine smile when Aunt Karen regifts you her bath soaps for the third consecutive year

  • Plus, these cold months are the best time to try LMNT hot. Salt softens bitterness to bring out coffee's natural sweetness – and add an extra pep to your step

  • This winter, elevate your morning coffee routine with any of LMNT’s Chocolate flavors. Try half or a whole stick pack of LMNT Chocolate Salt OR Chocolate Caramel with a 14–16 oz coffee

  • Roca Readers can enjoy a FREE sample pack of all eight LMNT flavors with any order – perfect for stocking stuffers! – plus a no-questions-asked, risk-free refund policy. If you don’t love it, pass it along to a salty friend and get your money back, no questions

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Futebol ➡️ football: The NFL will play a 2024 regular-season game at São Paulo’s Corinthians Arena, previously a 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics venue 

  • Know when to fold ‘em: An ex-Jacksonville Jaguars employee accused of defrauding the franchise of $22.2M allegedly lost most of the funds gambling on fantasy sports

  • Thumbphin: Researchers in Greece spotted an “extremely rare” dolphin with “thumbs” in the Gulf of Corinth. Despite its unique flippers, they noted it swam at the same speed as the rest of its pod

Wildcard

  • It’s been 120 years…: A book signed out in 1904 was recently returned to a Pennsylvania public library. The late fee would exceed $10K if calculated by today’s late fee rate

  • Today in “Florida Man”: Florida police arrested a 23-year-old tourist for disorderly intoxication after he allegedly threw gator nuggets into a restaurant and “sexually molested” a manatee statue when staff asked him to leave

  • Kids these days…: A Virginia DoorDash driver said an 11-year-old carjacked her at gunpoint. She was delivering after midnight when the 11-year-old and a teenager confronted her

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Should news publishers be allowed to use AI?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

What is your go-to Christmas song?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

Archaeologists discovered a bakery operated by slaves among these ruins.

In AD 79, Pompeii was a wealthy Roman city with 11,000+ people, large bathhouses, luxurious homes, and a large theater. That year, though, a nearby stratovolcano – Vesuvius – erupted with the force of 100,000 Hiroshima bombs.

The volcano smothered Pompeii in a cloud of ash, killing all its inhabitants and preserving the city under the ash. Pompeii was largely forgotten until the 1700s, when excavation of the site began. Archaeologists have since uncovered homes, mosaics, kitchen utensils, and even human bodies.

Recently, they found slave quarters.

Slavery was common in Rome, and in 2021, archaeologists discovered a room inhabited by slaves in a villa on the outskirts of Pompeii. Then earlier this year, archaeologists uncovered a bakery that served as both a workhouse and prison.

The bakery had small windows closed off by iron bars and exited into a main house, meaning it likely would have been impossible for a slave to escape from it. Markings on the floor suggest slaves and donkeys were forced to push a mill that would have ground flour, which then could have been used to bake bread.

“It is…a space in which we have to imagine the presence of people of servile status whose freedom of movement the owner felt the need to restrict,” the director of the site said. “It is the most shocking side of ancient slavery, the one devoid of both trusting relationships and promises of [freedom].”

Pompeii plans to open an exhibition this week to commemorate slavery in the city.

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

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Have you watched The Night Agent?
Yes: 25%
No: 75%

Yesterday's Question:

What is the best TV show and/or movie you have seen this year?

Karen from Annapolis, Maryland: "The Bear- Real life depicted well."

Ken from Kingman, Arizona: "Heartland is the best TV show We've seen this year!!”

John from Cape Town, South Africa: "Felix"

Marianne from Eagle, Idaho: “Ted Lasso. Great show, less some of the woke stuff and lectures. Couple episodes were not up to most of the series writing standards. But they closed the show, wrapping all loose ends, in such lovely, sweet ways. I watched the entire show, all seasons with my 94 year old mother. Was sorry to see it end. Mom lives in Walnut Creek, CA, I live in Eagle, ID.  We watched together, binged after she had hip replacement surgery.  Fun fact, I babysat Bill Lawrence once upon a time, when he and his parents lived across the street from us. Lovely people.”

Vanessa from Darwin, Australia: “Sex education”

Helen: “Godzilla -1 hands down in the top 5 movies I’ve watched in theatres ever! Definitely the best I’ve seen in theatre since the FIRST Avatar movie.”

🧠 Intermission

Roca Nation, thank you so much for SMASHING our grow for good goal yesterday. We’re so excited to have this community and all these new readers. Lets keep it going today!

–Max and Max

🌎 Roca Reports

Last week our Roca Reports series moved to Finland to answer the pivotal question: Is it truly the world’s happiest country? The series continues today.

Roca Reports is part of our premium newsletter with on-the-ground investigations of stories no one else is covering. If you’re not a member, you can start your 14-day free trial here!

Marjaana was frustrated she couldn’t fully express herself in English. In the days after she showed me around the Finland-Russia border, she sent me a series of messages, which say more about Finland than I ever could. I’ve excerpted them below.

Hi Max! I can’t help but send you a continuation. I was annoyed that I didn’t get to tell you the things I wanted, I’m on a train to Helsinki to meet my big brother and friends so I have plenty of time to write and give some more background on things. 

Subscribe to Roca Premium to read the rest.

Become a paying subscriber of Roca Premium to get access to this post and other subscriber-only content.

Already a paying subscriber? Sign In

A subscription gets you:
Subscriber community access
On-the-ground investigations of stories no one else is covering
Exclusive deep dives and interviews