🌊 Whale, This is Orcaward

Orcas attacking boats again, Hot Pocket shooting in Kentucky, and a jewel heist

Meta is just the GIF that keeps on GIFing. Facebook’s parent company is taking a $260M loss on its sale of GIF search engine Giphy. Meta bought Giphy in 2020, but UK antitrust regulators later ordered it to sell Gipfy over antitrust concerns. So Zuck had to go shopping, and all we can say is…

In today's edition:

  • Orcas attacking boats again

  • Hot Pocket shooting in Kentucky

  • Jewel Heist

 🔑 Key Stories

Orcas Sinking Ships

Orcas have sunk at least 3 boats off the coast of Spain and Portugal in the past year

  • Orcas – “killer whales” – are highly social and intelligent creatures that often hunt in groups, or “pods.” They rarely attack humans in the wild

  • Since May 2020, scientists have reported an increase in orca attacks against ships off the coast of Spain and Portugal. The attacks have sunk 3 ships

  • One marine biologist has theorized that a single orca learned the behavior after a traumatic event and has since taught it to other orcas. Others have theorized the behavior has no clear explanation

China #1 Exporter of Cars

In the first 3 months of 2023, China overtook Japan as the world’s leading exporter of passenger cars

  • China passed Germany last year to become the world’s 2nd-largest car exporter. Then over the first 3 months of 2023, it exported 1.07M passenger cars, up 58% from a year earlier, to surpass Japan’s 954k

  • China’s exports are largely due to electric vehicles (EVs): It dominates the EV battery industry, and many EV companies, like Tesla, build EVs there

  • The war in Ukraine has also boosted China’s exports, as sanctions push Russians to buy cars from China, rather than Western countries

Dig Deeper

  • Chinese authorities have allocated significant funding to make China an EV super-exporter. A top state official recently indicated the country plans to export 8M cars by 2030 – more than double its amount last year

Mexico Raises Volcano Alert Level

Mexico is preparing for the potential evacuation of 3M people amid increased activity at an active volcano

  • Popocatépetl [poh-poh-kah-TEH-peh-til] is an active volcano located 45 miles southeast of Mexico City, Mexico’s capital and largest city. An estimated 25M people live within a 50-mile radius of the volcano

  • Last week, seismologists noticed an increase in volcanic activity around the volcano. 2 major airports were closed this weekend due to ash

  • Officials have since raised the alert level and warned of potential eruptions and gas releases. ~3M have been told to be prepared for potential evacuation

Dig Deeper

  • Popocatépetl erupted in 1994 after decades of no volcanic activity and has periodically erupted since. A major eruption in 2000 forced the evacuation of 50,000 people living near its base. It frequently releases small amounts of ash and gas, and earthquakes commonly occur near it

7 Charged Over Vinicius Incidents

Spanish authorities arrested 7 people for racist incidents targeted at Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr

  • Vinicius Jr is a Brazilian soccer player who plays for Spanish soccer club Real Madrid. In January, a mannequin wearing his jersey was hung from a bridge near the Real Madrid training field; on Sunday, fans chanted racial slurs at him during a game

  • After the game, Vinicius said “racism is normal” in Spain’s soccer league, and league officials pointed to 9 other instances of racial abuse directed at him

  • On Tuesday, Spanish police arrested 4 people in connection to the first incident and 3 for the second

Dig Deeper

  • “LaLiga [Real Madrid’s league] has a problem,” Real’s coach said after the match. Brazil’s president also weighed in, saying he “deeply regrets” Spanish authorities’ lack of action against such incidents

  • LaLiga’s president called on authorities to investigate the issue but added that “neither Spain nor LaLiga are racist, it is unfair to say this”

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Ron DeCeremonious: Ron DeSantis will launch his presidential candidacy in a live conversation with Elon Musk tonight on Twitter

  • LeFinished? LeBron James says he will consider retirement this summer after 20th season ended with a disappointing playoff sweep

  • Pay or DIE: Netflix is cracking down on password sharing and will charge $7.99 per account outside the account holder’s household

Wildcard

  • Venom vendor: A California truck driver was sentenced to 5 months of home detention for selling pythons, rattlesnakes, and other exotic wildlife

  • *Not* peanut butter jelly time: An East Carolina pitcher was ejected and then suspended for handing a sandwich to his teammate on the field. The umpires deemed the sandwich a “prop,” which are banned

  • Completely out of Pocket: A 64-year-old Louisville man shot his roommate after he took the last Hot Pocket out of the freezer, according to police

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

Do you take naps?

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Today's Question:

Do you believe that looks influence success?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

In August 2019, a tool factory in Germany reported a theft: A hydraulic spreader –  “Jaws of Life” – had been stolen.

Rescuers use hydraulic spreaders to free people trapped in cars. They generally are not available for public sale. At the scene, police found the DNA of a man named Wissam Remmo, who they charged with the theft.

3 months later, in November 2019, a power facility in the German city of Dresden reported a break-in. Police investigated but found nothing of concern and no leads.

Several hundred feet from there was a castle that held some of Germany’s most prized jewels.

Around the time of the power plant break-in, 2 men used the Jaws of Life to slice through a metal grate on a castle window. They removed a hunk of metal, then put it back in place.

A week later, a diesel-fueled pressure cooker exploded near the same power station, starting a small fire that knocked out nearby streetlights and alarms. Under the cover of darkness, 2 men removed the grate they had sliced the week before, smashed their way through a window, and crawled into the castle.

In the castle’s basement was the Green Vault – a series of rooms containing over 3,000 works of fine European art and jewelry. Once in the building, the men moved through the Green Vault, smashing displays with hammers and stealing their artifacts.

At 5:46 AM, the museum’s unarmed security guards noticed the burglars on CCTV and dialed the police. By that point, though, the thieves were on the way out – having stolen more than 90 pieces of jewelry that contained over 4,300 diamonds and other precious stones.

The thieves sprayed a fire extinguisher to cover their tracks, then piled into an Audi station wagon with stolen plates. They parked in a parking garage several miles away, lit the car on fire, and drove off in a Mercedes.

“I don’t have to tell you how shocked we are by the brutality of this break-in,” the museum’s director said the next day. While she called the stolen goods’ value “immeasurable,” they were valued at around $120M.

Dresden police immediately assembled a 20-person team of elite detectives. Eventually, they noticed a link between this heist and one in 2017, during which thieves stole a 220-pound gold coin from a museum.

4 months after that heist, prosecutors charged 3 members of one suspected crime family – the Remmos – and their friend with stealing the coin.

As that played out in court over the following years, the Remmos remained free.

2 years later, one of them was charged with stealing a Jaws of Life – but police didn’t connect any dots and he remained out of prison. In 2020, 2 of the Remmos were convicted of the coin heist, but they stayed out of jail as their appeals played out.

Eventually, German police realized the Remmos were likely behind the Green Vault heist, but they needed to build the case against them. As they did that, the Remmos continued to walk freely in Berlin.

By November 2020, the police had their case.

That month, a year after the Green Vault heist, 1,638 German police officers fanned out across Berlin, searching apartments, vehicles, and garages. They ended up arresting 5 people accused of the heist – including 3 of the Remmos.

About a year into the trial, the jewels still hadn’t been located and the defense ended up reaching a deal with the prosecutors: They’d confess their crimes and return most of the jewels in exchange for capped prison sentences.

Last Tuesday, the 5 men were convicted.

4 months after that heist, prosecutors charged 3 members of one suspected crime family – the Remmos – and their friend with stealing the coin.

The convictions end one of Germany’s most notorious heist sagas – while begging the question of how it happened in the first place.

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

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you watch music videos?

Yes: 29%

No: 71%

Yesterday's Question:

What is something you are stingy about?

Denise from Philadelphia: “My secret stash of chocolate.”

Wade from Pennsylvania: “I'm stingy with my attention. I would have said time in the past, but I've changed my perspective a bit. Sitting in a waiting area for an appointment might take away time from things that need a physical presence. Giving away my attention spills over in all areas whether physical presence is required or not. The daily test I use is pretty simple. If I lay my head down at night to fall asleep and I'm preoccupied with something I'm powerless over, I've given my attention away.“

Erica from Florida: “Hugs. I am not a fan of strangers (or even casual acquaintances) hugging me. It's been that way since I was a kid. People would give me a lot of grief over this, but one positive outcome from COVID is that people are more accepting of personal boundaries. Bottom line- a hug from me is truly special”

🧠 Final Thoughts

We hope everyone is having a fantastic Hump Day. To the many of you who joined our app beta yesterday: Thanks for the wonderful feedback you've already sent. We are delighted to see that you are enjoying!

We will see you all tomorrow.

–Max and Max