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Flashback Fridays- February 2019

“El Chapo” was declared guilty of all charges on February 12th, 2019 (Picture taken: January 19th, 2017)

On this day two years ago, NASA officially confirmed that the Mars Opportunity Rover had ceased communication. Originally launched on July 7th 2003, the rover accompanied Spirit, as part of the Mars Exploration Rover program. The robot descended onto the surface of Mars several months later. The “little rover that could” was initially supposed to last only 90 sols (Approximately 92 Earth Days). In the end, it well surpassed expectations when it survived for over 5,000 sols. It was able to survive for such a long period of time, due to its continual recharging of its solar batteries. During major dust storms, the robot would shelter away and hibernate, avoiding any physical harm. Unfortunately for the rover, it would succumb to a nasty storm. The rover’s solar panels were unable to generate enough energy to maintain its communications; and within several months, NASA declared farewell to the robot, publicly announcing the end of the program. At the time of its closure, the rover had traveled well over twenty-five miles from its initial landing spot.

Joaquín Guzmán was one of the biggest drug lords of the late 20th century. Perhaps you might recognize him from his iconic nickname, “El Chapo.” At the height of his power, Guzmán was successful in smuggling loads of cocaine shipments into the United States. Additional products under his catalogue included meth, heroin, and marijuana. The drug lord was first imprisoned in 1993; but in 2001, he was successful in escaping via a laundry cart. The elaborate plan completely flew over the guards’ radars, as he was boarded into the trunk of guard Francisco Camberos Rivera (Who has since been arrested for assisting Guzmán in the effort). After over a decade of chaos, including a Mexican cartel war, a manhunt, and a beef with high-profile cartel leaders, “El Chapo” was captured by police at a hotel in Mazatlán, Mexico. Guzmán was previously camping out in the Sierra Madre Mountains for years, occasionally vacationing, while keeping a low-profile. This wouldn’t be the end of “El Chapo’s” notoriety as a wanted criminal. In 2015, Guzmán escaped from prison yet again, this time via an underground tunnel and a motorcycle. Finally, after a several-month long manhunt, “El Chapo” was caught in a relative’s home along the coast of Los Mochis. Once again, Guzmán was prepared, and escaped from the officers, via a series of underground tunnels and a stolen vehicle. The police were successful in locating and intercepting the fleeing trafficker, who was ultimately arrested 20 km south of the home. Over three years later, on February 12th 2019, Guzmán was found guilty under the American court system on all charges. He began serving his thirty-year sentence in July of that year.

Whispers of sightings of the elusive black leopard have long swirled around central Kenya, and scientists have now confirmed its presence there with a series of rare images taken by camera traps. The images were captured by researchers from the San Diego Zoo who have been studying leopards in the Loisaba wildlife conservancy, as well as an independent photographer working in the region at the same time.

On February 11th, 2019, teachers in Denver, CO began their strike for better pay and school funding. According to an article by, the teacher’s biggest concern regarded Denver’s incentive pay system, which paid bonuses to teachers based on their overall performance. However, the teachers’ union argued, however, that the bonuses varied from year to year, creating financial instability. Instead, they opted for their base-salary to be raised, while the bonuses decreased in value. As of recent years, Colorado ranked among the lowest for teacher’s salary in the United States, ranging around an average of $46,155 a year. After three days of striking, the Denver district was successful in negotiating a deal with the strikers. Initial reports concluded that an 11.7% pay hike was in order, as well as an increase in the annual cost of living.

“7 Rings” debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, earning Grande her second number one single (and second number one debut), where it spent 8 non-consecutive weeks atop the chart, becoming her longest running number one single to date. Therefore, it became Ariana Grande’s highest song to crack the Billboard Decade-End in the 2010s.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


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