Victim’s family speaks to Uber, Lyft


Last Friday, University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson was found dead in a field 14 hours after she got into a black Chevy Impala that she thought was her Uber.

Over the past week since her passing, there have been many services held in both Columbia, S.C,, where she attended school, as well as in her hometown in Princeton, N.J.

The story of Samantha’s death has gone viral, and people everywhere have been speaking out about the topic. Samantha’s family has called on companies such as Uber and Lyft to take action to make their rides safer and for the companies to hold themselves accountable. A petition was made for these companies to implement QR codes to verify both the driver and passenger’s identity before getting in the vehicle.

On the other end of the spectrum, the hashtag #WhatsMyName has been trending, which is being used to spread awareness about ride-share safety by urging any Uber or Lyft customers to ask the driver who the car is for before getting in the vehicle.

Although everyone would benefit from companies like Uber and Lyft taking action to make their rides safer, it is really the customer’s responsibility to keep themselves safe. In Samantha’s case, she didn’t realize that the car she got into wasn’t her uber until it was too late. However, she and other ride-sharing customers should always confirm the driver’s identity as well as their license plate before entering the vehicle.

Even if Uber had already put the QR code initiative in motion, there is still the possibility that customers don’t use it and still get into the wrong car. In this case, it is on the customer rather than the company.

As tragic as Samantha’s death is, if she had looked at the license plate before getting in the vehicle, she would still be alive today and Uber could not have done anything to prevent that.

World’s biggest T. rex discovered


Paleontologists at a fossil site in Saskatchewan, Canada, discovered the heaviest Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found. The dinosaur, which was unveiled last week in The Anatomical Record, is estimated to have weighed 19,500 pounds during its life.

The skeleton includes the skull and hips along with some of its ribs, leg bones, and tail bones, making it roughly 65 percent complete. Paleontologists have nicknamed the massive Tyrannosaurus rex “Scotty” and he would have been much heavier than the elephants that walk our planet today.

Although the bones were actually discovered in 1991, it took paleontologists over a decade to excavate them from the sandstone that they were in, and even longer to put all of the bones together.

This discovery is a large step for the paleontology community, but surprisingly these findings to not typically get much attention from the media outside of the science world. Articles about this enormous skeleton can be found on websites such as National Geographic, ScienceAlert and New Scientist, but not on any major news websites.

Our news feeds today are filled with politics, scandals and sports, but it is unfortunate that the news media today tend to shy away from science. Although dinosaurs have not walked our earth in 66 million years, these findings help scientists gather more information on important topics such as evolutionary biology and climate change. Hopefully this impressive discovery will get the attention that it deserves, because paleontology is still very relevant in science today.

Florida city commissioner resigns


The city commissioner of Madeira Beach, Fla., resigned this week after receiving criticism from complaints that she had allegedly groped her male co-workers and licked their faces during work events and meetings. Nancy Oakley had been the city commissioner of Madeira Beach from 2007 to 2013 and also from 2017 to 2019.

Oakley submitted her resignation letter on Tuesday, in which she denied the claims. She wrote that she was resigning to “still the controversy” and also wrote: “I maintain my innocence and am pursuing the paths of appeals available.”The complaint was filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics in February 2017 by former Madeira Beach City manager Shane Crawford. He said that Oakley had made “unwanted sexual advances” toward him and director of the city’s public works department and the city marina, Dave Marsicano, at a fishing tournament in 2012.

According to the report by the ethics commission in response to the complaint, Crawford said that Oakley had “grabbed his crotch, and slowly licked him from his Adam’s apple all the way up his face.”

The report also include details of an incident between Oakley and Dave Marsicano. Marsicano said that during a meeting in 2012, Oakley “hung on his neck, grabbed his crotch, and licked his face.” He also said that Oakley had hugged him and tried to kiss him on numerous other occasions.

According to a press release, the Florida Commission on Ethics found at a meeting on Jan. 25 that Oakley violated the state’s ethics code by “misusing her position by exhibiting inappropriate behavior toward city staff.” The press release also states that it was recommended that Oakley be fined $5,000 and publicly censured by the governor. A Madeira Beach spokesperson confirmed that Oakley’s resignation was accepted on Wednesday night.

CBP makes record fentanyl bust


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona announced on Thursday that border officers have made the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history.

The 254 pounds of powder and pills that were confirmed to be the synthetic opioid was found hidden inside of a floor compartment of a large truck trailer filled with cucumbers. Officials valued the drug at $3.5 million. This bust is a large step for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but a small step for the opioid crisis in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017. This record breaking number has much to do with the out-of-control opioid overdose crisis in America. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that more than 130 people in the United States die from opioid overdose every day.

So what does this monumental fentanyl bust mean for the United States? The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has referred to Mexican cartels as “the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States.” These cartels are known to smuggle narcotics across the Southwest border of the U.S., often hidden in trailers similar to the truck trailer filled with cucumbers and 254 pounds of fentanyl that was just busted. This fentanyl seizure was more than double the amount of the previous record that was found in Nebraska in 2017. This national security concern is constantly on the radar for Customs and Border Protection officials, and this bust was an important victory for them.

We often hear President Trump preaching about his proposal for a border wall, which he claims will reduce national security concerns such as drug trafficking. However, U.S. Border Protection officials have expressed that, according to their data, the majority of hard drugs such as fentanyl and other opioids are seized from vehicles that attempt to cross the border by driving through official entry ports. It is unclear if a border wall would have much of an impact on the drug trafficking and opioid crisis in the U.S., but this major bust will hopefully act as a warning for all other drug traffickers looking to cross the border into the United States.