🌊 World's Top Restaurant Closes

Ozone layer on the mend?, Sorry, no "emotional support snake", and The Golden Sheep

It doesn't sound like "Charlie and the Beer Factory" will be made into a movie anytime soon. A beer company named BrewDog recently held a "solid gold" beer can promo in which BrewDog hid golden beer cans in 50 different cases. The winners, however, were dismayed to see that the "solid gold" cans were, in fact, bronze and lightly-flaked with gold. BrewDog's CEO is now paying the winners $500,000+. Grandpa Joe, you can stay in bed.

In today's edition:

  • Ozone layer on the mend?

  • Sorry, no "emotional support snake"

  • The Golden Sheep

 🔑 Key Stories

Ozone Layer Improving 

Earth’s ozone layer is slowly healing, a UN study said

  • Ozone is a gas found in the upper atmosphere that absorbs much of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. High levels of UV radiation can cause cancer

  • In the 1980s, studies found that emissions of certain industrial chemicals depleted Earth’s ozone layer and caused ozone “holes” near the Polar regions. Every country in the world signed a treaty to ban those chemicals, and their use has since fallen

  • The new study found that the global ozone should return to pre-1980s levels by 2040, and that both Polar “holes” should fully recover by 2066 at latest

Dig Deeper

  • If current policies remain in place, the ozone layer is expected to recover to 1980 values (before the appearance of the ozone hole) by around 2066 over the Antarctic, by 2045 over the Arctic and by 2040 for the rest of the world

Drugs, Surgery to Treat Child Obesity 

A top medical organization listed weight loss drugs and surgery in new guidelines for childhood obesity

  • As of 2020, the CDC estimates that ~20% of US children between the ages of 2 and 19 suffer from obesity. It also suggests that number is increasing

  • For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended lifestyle and behavioral changes to address this issue. In a new update, though, the organization included weight loss drugs for children 12+ and surgery for kids 13+ if lifestyle changes don’t work

  • The organization claims genetic and hormonal factors affect obesity, hence the new guidelines

90% Infected in One Chinese Province 

A health official in one of China’s largest provinces claimed ~90% of people there have contracted Covid-19

  • In December, China abruptly ended much of its “zero-Covid” policy, which required frequent testing, masking, and quarantines. Since then, cases have skyrocketed across the country

  • The health official claimed that 89% of people in Henan province — China’s 3rd-largest — had contracted Covid-19 by last Friday, or ~88.5M people

  • China’s government officially claims only ~5.3k Covid-19-related deaths as of January 8; however, critics claim it’s underreporting cases and deaths

Dig Deeper

  • Travel is expected to increase in China over the next few months for 2 reasons: (1) China opened its borders on Sunday as one of the last steps in shutting down its zero-Covid policy, and (2) Holiday travel as China celebrates lunar new year later this month. Millions will likely travel from big cities to visit friends or relatives in the countryside

World's Top Restaurant to Close 

Noma, one of the world’s top-ranked restaurants, announced it will close for customers by 2025

  • Famed Danish chef René Redzepi founded Noma in 2003 as an experimental kitchen. It has since won 3 Michelin stars, been named the world’s best restaurant several times, and has served bizarre dishes, including duck brain and reindeer brain custard. A meal at Noma costs $500+/ guest

  • On Monday, it announced it will close for guests by 2025, but will stay open as a “test kitchen” 

  • It claims pandemic-related food costs and customer losses made running the restaurant less profitable

Dig Deeper

  • Noma has won the world's best restaurant award five times, most recently in 2021. Redzepi said the restaurant could no longer make ends meet and provide staff with fair wages. "We have to completely rethink the industry. This is simply too hard, and we have to work in a different way," he said

The Pillow for Side Sleepers 

Together with Marlow

The ideal sleeping position is on the side, but without the proper support, a good morning is not in the forecast. 

  • With an adjustable design, the Marlow Pillow adapts to give side sleepers the support they need

  • It's made with a proprietary fill of memory foam and polyester fiber made using NASA technology and a unique zippered design for easy adjustability, allowing users to find the exact loft profile that fits them

  • At the same time, cooling-infused memory foam and ventilated zipper gussets help create better airflow and regulate your body temperature, so you stay cool during the night, while its antimicrobial shell repels unwelcomed guests like dust mites and bacteria

Dig Deeper

  • The pillow has been perfected over eight years with numerous research, surveys, and prototypes, but to ensure satisfaction, it's also backed by Brooklinen's best-in-class customer service and a risk-free warranty

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Dawgs dominate: The Georgia Bulldogs throttled the TCU Horned Frogs in the college football national championship with a record-setting final margin of 65-7

  • Fairytale over: Disney CEO Bob Iger told hybrid employees they must return to the office for at least 4 days a week starting on March 1st

  • Woke up in a new Rolls-Royce: Rolls-Royce reported record sales this year despite an average price tag of $534,000 and economic headwinds

Wildcard 

  • Snakes on a plane? A passenger at Tampa's airport tried to smuggle a 4-foot boa constrictor through airport security, claiming it was an "emotional support pet"

  • Shirley, you can't be serious: Russian airplane passengers had to endure freezing temps and high winds in the air after one of the airplane doors flew open mid-flight

  • Caannceeled: Mel Gibson was dropped from the official Mardi Gras parade lineup in New Orleans after organizers reported that they had received "threats"

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

Better orange snack?

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Today's Question:

What’s a goal you have that you’ve yet to achieve? 

Reply to this email with your answers! 

See yesterday's results below the Wrap!

🌯 Roca Wrap

In Senegal, the sound of thousands of sheep means one thing: Tabaski is approaching.

Tabaski is a major Muslim festival. According to Islamic tradition, God requested that a prophet sacrifice his son. The prophet agreed, but God intervened at the last second, and the man sacrificed a ram instead. Tabaski remembers that event, and every year Muslims around the world celebrate it by sacrificing an animal, often a sheep.

In Senegal, a country in West Africa that is over 90% Muslim, it’s one of the biggest holidays.

About 2 weeks before Tabaski, sheep are everywhere. Sellers bring their flocks to markets, and buyers come in preparation for the slaughter. The main market in Senegal’s capital does ~$180,000 a day in sales during that time, and the government estimates that Senegalese buy ~750,000 sheep each year for the holiday.

In Senegal – where ~40% of people live on under $1.90 a day, according to the World Bank – sheep can be a major expense. They typically sell for $120-$160, and many take out high-interest loans to buy them.

But the quality of sheep sacrificed at Tabaski can be seen as a status symbol: The better the breed and the bigger the sheep, the wealthier the family, and the more valuable the sacrifice. So those who have the means may spend far more. 

At the top of the sheep hierarchy is one specific breed: The Ladoum, a sheep crafted over generations to have ideal proportions and physical beauty. 

The Ladoum are bred to be huge: They weigh up to 400 pounds and stand 4 feet tall. They have black and white hair, rather than wool, giving them a smooth and slick outer layer. Rams spurt curled horns larger than those of other breeds.

While their price varies according to height, weight, age, shape, and horn symmetry, a Ladoum can sell for between $3k and $70k. That’s major money for the breeders, who can either sell the animals to other breeders, or to wealthy people who want them for pets or sacrifice. 

It’s unknown how many Ladoum exist today, but they’re believed to have been increasing in popularity. They now compete in televised beauty pageants and are sold as pets to famous Senegalese. Those known to have bought Ladoum include Gorgui Dieng, an NBA player, and Yékini Diop, widely considered the greatest Senegalese wrestler of all time.

One of the most well-known Ladoum breeders is a man named Abou Kane. “The Ladoum is both big and beautiful,” he said in one interview. “It is the rarity of this breed that makes it so expensive and profitable.”

Yet as the Ladoum becomes more and more popular, it begs the question: Is it just a matter of time until they become too common to be valuable, and a new sheep takes its once-glorious place?

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

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you get the "Sunday Scaries"?

Yes: 65%No: 35%

Yesterday's Question:

Who is a celebrity that you think deserves all the fame they have?

Joe from Texas: “Keanu Reeves. He's such a humble actor and is super legit! Performs his own stunts (mostly) and actually trains for his roles!”

Tom from Ohio: “Dolly Parton.  She does a lot of really good things, but doesn't push an agenda on anyone.  Kind of like Roca News!”

Claudia from California: “Tom Hanks.  I really cannot think of one movie or TV show that he's been in that I didn't like.  And he seems to be a really nice guy!”

🧠 Final Thoughts

Congrats to all the UGA fans out there! Especially our Community Lead and UGA alum, Bella... a great day to be a bulldog. 

This is a big week for Roca. We want Roca to be a mirror to the world, and to that end, we have 4 Roca staff on the ground in El Paso and a soon-to-be disclosed African country gathering content to bring you the world like no one else has! We can't wait to share that with you.

Have great weeks, and see you tomorrow!

Max and Max