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Preliminary study shows UK Covid variant 30% more deadly

  • A preliminary study out of the UK has shown that the more-viral coronavirus strain originating there is more deadly than the most-common variant

  • UK PM Boris Johnson said that an initial conclusion suggested it was 30-40% more fatal

  • The good news is that another study from this week suggested that the Pfizer vaccine will remain as effective against this mutation as the standard variant

  • The data showing a higher death rate is highly uncertain, and further research needs to be done before reaching a definitive conclusion

Texas sues Biden Admin over deportation pause

  • Texas has sued the Biden Administration just 2 days after it took over the White House

  • The Administration put a 100-day pause on most deportations, halting policies put in place by the Trump Administration

  • In Trump's final days in office, the Department of Homeland Security agreed to give states 6 months notice before changing federal immigration policy

  • This is likely to be the first of many clashes between Republican states and the Biden administration over immigratino policy

Baseball legend Hank Aaron dies

  • Hank Aaron, one of baseball's greats and a civil rights leader, died on Friday at age 86

  • Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run records and held that record for decades. He was black, and subject to frequent death threats and verbal attacks

  • Muhammad Ali famously called Aaron “the only man I idolize more than myself,” and he is considered to be a civil rights and sports icon for generations of Americans

  • Aaron has records of 2,297 RBIs, 6,856 total bases, and 1,477 extra-base hits. He spent most of his career on the Braves

Google threatens to leave Australia

  • Google has threatened to stop providing its search engine within Australia in response to proposed legislation there

  • The proposal would require tech companies to share revenue with media companies

  • News companies have lobbied for the change, as Google and the social media giants have devoured their advertising revenue. Tech and media companies would have to agree to a price to share their content

  • 12.5% of Google searches in Australia are for news. Google has said it would shut down its search engine in response, and the case is seen as a test of how countries can regulate Big Tech

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Roca Rundown

Roca's daily newsletter: fast, fun, and informative.

Who created the podcast?

We hope you had a great weekend.  There was a lot to keep you busy: Taylor Swift's new album, college football, Timothee Chalamet playing a Soundcloud rapper on SNL, the NFL, alcohol, The Queen's Gambit, and incredible weather (at least in DC).  

Today we will see the first wave of vaccinations in the US.  It's a bittersweet day. On the one hand, it's thrilling to know we're beginning the process that willl protect the most vulnerable among us and eventually end the pandemic. Yet it's hard not to reflect on the tragedy Covid-19 has caused as we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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News for meetings:

At long last, a stimulus:  To make a stimulus actually happen, a bipartisan group of Senators has split the stimulus proposal into 2 bills; a larger one ($748B) containing less controversial funding, and a smaller one ($160B) containing more controversial funding. The current proposal doesn't include another round of $1,200 checks

After the Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Indians became the second pro sports team to drop their Native American-inspired/mocking team name. Go Cleveland Car -Washers, anyone?

Distribution of Pfizer's Covid vaccine is underway, with vaccinations hopefully beginning today. Doses need to be stored at extremely low temperatures, making distribution a challenge. Santa, time for you to step up

After taking flack for shutting down indoor dining in NYC, NY Gov Andrew Cuomo was accused of sexual harassment by a former staffer. "I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks," she tweeted on Sunday

News for happy hour:

PetListed rated Birmingham, AL the most cat-friendly city in America. Following Birmingham were Portland, Madison, and Richmond

Netflix's "The Queen's Gambit" has inspired a lot of new chess players to log onto Chess.com. It turns out that many of these newcomers are cheaters: Chess.com shut down over 18,000 accounts in November for cheating

A University of Florida defender chucked the cleat of an LSU player after a huge third down stop with 1:50 to go in Saturday's game. The unsportsmanlike penalty cost the Gators the game and a potential playoff spot. Some are calling the game the "Cleat Yeet"

Disney World has stopped photoshopping masks onto mask-less riders. It turns out that digitally superimposing masks onto funnel cake-eating humans will not prevent the spread of highly contagious viruses

Impress your date:

Watch out, Mr. Fox! After Denmark killed millions of its mink to stop the spread of Covid, fur producers want foxes to fill the gap. The price of fox pelts is expected to soar

How do you say X Æ A-Xii in Indonesian? Tesla is considering major investments in Indonesia, which is home to precious minerals - like nickel - needed for Tesla battery production

Who invented the podcast?

Few forms of media (mediums?) have exploded quite like the podcast in recent years. The Daily, Call Her Daddy, the Joe Rogan Experience - these shows bring entertainment, information, and NSFW weekend escapades to millions of listeners weekly. But how did they come to exist? And who even coined the term "podcast"?

That would be Ben Hammersley, a reporter for The Guardian, who wrote in 2004 that because of iPods, blogs, and cheap audio software, "all the ingredients are there for a new boom in amateur radio."

"But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?" he asked.

And so podcasting was born.

Prophetically, in that article, Hammersley interviewed an ex-NYT and NPR journalist who he refers to as a "a pioneer in the field." NYT and NPR are now among the most powerful, if not the most powerful, businesses in podcasting today.

Yet beyond the name, podcasting was largely the invention of two men: Dave Winer - called "the father of blogging" by the BBC - and Adam Curry - an MTV radio host. Dave Winer created what many consider the first blog in 1994, named Scripting News. His basic idea was to let normal people publish their writing to the internet. Through that process, he created a way for people to connect their content to feeds, which others could read.

Curry loved the idea, and contacted Winer to figure out how to apply it to audio. In brief, the challenge was recording the audio, packaging it, and sharing it to the internet in a way others could access. Winer cracked the code (literally). On the other end, Curry created a program for Apple that could identify the files, download them, and sync them to an iPod. This is now referred to as a "podcatcher."

All of the above happened in the early 2000s, and it was 2004 when Hammersley coined the term "podcast." By the end of that year, Esquirereports that a Google search for "podcasts" scored 500 results. One year later, it yielded 100,000,000. Podcasting started to blow up in 2005, and never slowed down.

The proliferation of smartphones, YouTube, and cheap data has only accelerated this. According to Deloitte, podcast revenues are now at $1.1B. That puts it below esports ($1.3B) and audiobooks ($3.5B), and at a fraction of recorded music ($21B) or radio ($42B). But the growth in podcasting has been exponential, and is expected to continue. Deloitte forecasts that the industry will bring in $3.3B by 2025.

To close this out, here's a list of today's top podcasts ranked by Edison Research.



So there it is: A brief history of the podcast. Send your thoughts to Max@RocaNews.com, and let us know what you want to hear about next. Thanks for reading the Roca Rundown!As always, we love hearing from you. Please send your thoughts, feedback, and ideas to Max@RocaNews.com.

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