🌊 Rent is too Damn… Low?

From smartphones to smart banking? Latest protest of "Stop the Oil", and Gulf of Guinea Pirates

In this edition of "things that aren't as old as you might think," we give you the crossword puzzle: Today's the 98th anniversary of the first-ever crossword puzzle book. We tell you this because there may be a time today — whether in the elevator or in your therapist's lobby — when you need to break an awkward silence with a fun fact.

In today's edition:

  • From smartphones to smart banking?

  • Latest protest of "Stop the Oil"

  • Gulf of Guinea Pirates

🔑 Key Stories

Apple Savings Account?

Apple is offering a new savings account with an annual interest yield ~10x the national average

  • APY refers to the amount banks pay annually on the money deposited with them. In the US, the average APY on a savings account is .37%

  • For years, Apple has been trying to break into the finance industry. It debuted an Apple credit card in 2019 and a buy-now, pay-later service last month

  • On Monday, Apple announced a savings account in partnership with Goldman Sachs. It offers a 4.15% APY, more than 10x the national average, and has no fees, minimum deposits, or balance requirements

Dig Deeper

  • Analysts say it’s part of an effort by Apple to further lock users into Apple product and to earn more from services, not just technology sales

  • “Our goal is to build tools that help users lead healthier financial lives,” an Apple executive said, while “providing [users] with an easy way to save money every day”

Cancer Vaccine?

Drug companies Moderna and Merck released data suggesting that their melanoma vaccine is effective

  • Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the US’ 5th-most-common cancer. It often recurs after treatment

  • A mid-stage trial of the vaccine involved 157 patients treated for melanoma. 107 were given the vaccine plus another drug; 50 were just given the other drug

  • After ~2 years, joint use of the vaccine and the drug helped reduce cancer recurrence or death by 44% versus those who received just the immunotherapy. It uses mRNA tech similar to Moderna’s Covid019 vaccine

Dig Deeper

  • “This is the first time we’ve been able to use vaccine technology to really be able to change the course of a cancer,” one Merck executive said. “It’s early days, but it provides a high degree of confidence,” said Moderna’s president

  • The therapy, which has been fast-tracked by the FDA, will now undergo a larger human trial

Rent Prices Falling

In March, average US rents fell on an annual basis for the first time in 3 years, per real estate company Redfin

  • Redfin tracks average rent prices across the US’ 50 most-populous cities using listings on Rent.com. It determines them based on asking prices for leases

  • In the year to March 2023, rents fell .4% – the first time they’ve declined on an annual basis since the pandemic. The median asking rent – $1,937 – was the lowest in 13 months

  • Of the 50 largest cities, NYC has the highest average rent ($4,022); Louisville, KY has the lowest ($1,378). Rents fell most in Austin and rose most in Raleigh

Dig Deeper

  • Per Redfin, in February, the numbers of new rental units that went into and completed construction each rose to their second-highest rate in 30 years. That has caused a surplus of housing and lower rental prices in many areas

Study: Most Weed Weak

A study found that 70% of dispensary-sold weed had at least 15% less THC than advertised

  • THC is the ingredient in marijuana that gives users a high. Weed with more THC tends to sell for more. For years, consumers have complained that companies overreport their weed’s THC levels

  • On Wednesday, the University of Northern Colorado researchers published a paper that analyzed 23 samples from 10 Colorado dispensaries

  • It found that 70% of samples had at least 15% less THC than their labels reported, and were on average 23.1% lower than the lowest value advertised

Dig Deeper

  • For years, consumers have complained that weed companies overreport how much THC their products contain. Companies reportedly “lab shop,” which involves sending weed products to multiple labs and only advertising the highest result

🍿 Popcorn


  • Hurts so good: QB Jalen Hurts became the highest-paid NFL player in history after signing a 5-year, $255M contract extension with the Eagles

  • Cry an Ocean: Frank Ocean's first performance since 2017 left some Coachella fans disappointed. He started an hour late, cut it short due to curfew, and refused a livestream

  • Corden blue: James Corden is wrapping up his final days as a late night talk show host. The final guests on his 4/27 farewell show will be Will Ferrell and Harry Styles


  • AI take-quake: Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai says the implications of artificial intelligence will be more profound than those of electricity and fire

  • Fuss-il fuel: “Just Stop Oil” protesters interrupted the World Snooker Championship by pouring powder paint on the table. Snooker is a billiards-like game

  • Circus tragedy: A Chinese acrobat fell to her death after her partner — also her husband — failed to catch her with his legs in a flying-trapeze performance 

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

What time do you go to sleep at night? 😴

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

What genre of music speaks to you the most? Why?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

A pair of pirate attacks has left dozens missing off West Africa’s coast.

Piracy is officially defined as attacks or robberies committed on the “high seas,” or outside of countries’ territorial waters. Every country has the right to charge and punish pirates by their domestic laws.

The waters off Somalia, in East Africa, became a piracy hotspot in the early 2000s. Armed pirates would often rob cargo ships, hijack them, or hold their crews for ransom. Somali piracy peaked in 2011, when pirates attacked 212 vessels and took 117 hostages.

To counter that, the US and other countries began patrolling the waters off Somalia. Somali tribal leaders also clamped down on the practice. Somali piracy plummeted by 95% between 2011 and 2013.

As piracy declined near Somalia, it increased in a different part of Africa: The Gulf of Guinea, which is a body of water off West Africa that borders 17 countries. ~25% of Africa’s trade, including a vast majority of its oil exports, passes through the gulf.

By 2013, the Gulf of Guinea was recording 3 times as many pirate attacks as Somalia. By 2019, 95% of the world’s crew kidnappings occurred there. In 2021, the UN estimated that the region’s pirates were stealing $5M annually and disrupting $1.9B in trade.

Heavily armed criminal groups were behind many of the attacks, which often targeted oil tankers. Vast amounts of oil bound for Central or West Africa move through the Gulf of Guinea, and Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, exports its oil through it.

The surge in piracy prompted several West African countries to strengthen their navies and increase military cooperation, while the UN and EU supported anti-piracy efforts.

By 2022, pirate attacks had fallen 46% from 2021 and 75% from 2020. There were 2 hostage incidents in 2022, versus 7 the previous years.

Last month, a Danish cargo ship was attacked by pirates 160 miles off West Africa’s coast. The French Navy found the ship 4 days later, but 6 of its crew are still missing. Then last Monday, pirates attacked a Chinese tanker ~345 miles from shore; that ship and its 20 crew members are still missing.

The attacks were among the largest in years and occurred outside areas considered “high-risk”. “The current situation clearly shows that most countries in the region do not have the necessary resources…to respond to such an incident,” the Danish ship’s owner said in a statement.

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

🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

What time do you typically wake up in the morning?

4 AM - 6 AM: 30%

6 AM - 8 AM: 52%

8 AM - 10 AM: 14%

10 AM or later: 4%

Yesterday's Question:

What is the best and worst thing about your generation?

Dalton from Michigan: “Early Gen Z here: I'd say the best thing about my generation is our ability to accept others. We have existed on the internet for our whole lives, and we've see some weird stuff. Real-world people all seem pretty normal by comparison. The worst thing is our addiction to the internet. My internet in my apartment died and it has ruined my life these past few days. The fact I needed internet so badly is truly ridiculous and yes all you older people are right to make fun of me.”

Alex from Rhode Island: “Best: In short, I find Millennials to be resilient. We've been dealt a shit hand of cards in numerous ways and continue to fight for our beliefs. Worst: I feel like we are entirely disconnected from the generations on either side of us. Baby Boomers, who predominantly make up our parents, could not be more lost in understanding the millennial experience and disregard every challenge we face as "complaining". Gen X had a taste of the sweet life that Boomers experienced and enjoyed an adolescence devoid of the internet, cell phones, and electronics. Gen Z, on the other hand, live in a world of their own. Everything that they do is so new and so different and built from being a generation fully encapsulated by the internet. So in general, we're expected to work/act like the generations before us, but we don't reap any of the benefits. And we're too old/unplugged to relate to the generation behind us.”

Jenny from Ontario: “I’m Gen-X. The best thing is we’ve experienced life pre-computers and smart tvs and post. We’re young enough to pick up technology quickly and old enough to appreciate how much easier it is now. My kids have never had to go to a library to research outdated books for projects. Everything is at their finger-tips! The worst thing is some still complain about technology or think cursive is important. There’s nothing worse than Gen Xers who talk about how they didn’t use car seats and were outside morning to night and survived.”

Claudia from California: “I'm a Boomer; not a typical one, but a Boomer nonetheless. We have a strong work ethic instilled by our depression-era parents. We work hard and are loyal. But, we have to remember that now is not then. Give the people who were born and raised after us, different than we were, a chance, a break, some understanding that the world has changed and things are not as they were when we were young. We have got to stop playing into the "Boomer" mindset.”

🧠 Final Thoughts

We hope everyone has great Tuesdays. If you've got an oil tanker, stay away from the Gulf of Guinea.

See you tomorrow!

Max and Max