Thursday, September 14, 2017

THE ORACLE'S SCHOOL SURVIVAL GUIDE

Written by: Lauren Groff

New to the Sparta High community? If you decided to play a fall sport, chances are you've gotten the chance to meet some upperclassmen who have proved to be familiar faces in the hallway this first week. If you can't relate to this, don't panic! You may not recognize many of the older students walking the hallways, but soon you will find that navigating SHS isn't as daunting as it seems. Most likely, your teachers have given you some of their “tips and tricks” for the school year.
The truth is, sometimes the best advice comes from student to student. We were in your position very recently and experienced it ourselves, so let The Oracle staff give you some helpful tips and advice. Here's your school survival guide…

  1. On days you don't have lab, use lunch to your advantage.
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The library is more than just walls of books and a printing station. On days that you have a test or just need to catch up on some homework, grab a comfy chair in the MRC and take some quiet time to get ahead if you know you have a commitment after school. You'll thank yourself later!

2. Depending on its location, you may only get to stop at your locker once or twice a day, so bring everything you need in a backpack to carry around with you.
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You may not think it's important now, but when we say bring everything, we mean it. BRING EVERYTHING! Chapstick, hair ties, a water bottle, an extra sweatshirt, your student ID, and more. “I probably won't need it, though…” You will. Just trust us on this one.

3.  Phone chargers become gold.
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Unless you're one of the lucky few who invested in a charging phone case, (we will be forever jealous) phone chargers become a highly sought-after necessity. If you don't have one, you'll be asking for one. And if you do have one, more people will be asking you for it than that little cousin who keeps asking “do you have games on your phone?”. It gets old real quick.

4. Pack your lunch if you can.
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As you can imagine with a schedule that has all four grades eating lunch at the same time, the lunch line gets ridiculously long. Chances are, you'll be waiting in the panini line to longer than it takes you to actually eat said panini. Pack your lunch the night before and skip the painfully long line.

5.  If you sit in the student section and there's a theme, FOLLOW THE THEME!
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For big games, the student section will have themes such as hawaiian shirts, flannels, or 'murica. Whatever it is, if you're going to sit with everyone, JUST FOLLOW THE THEME. Don't be that person.

6. Always have an extra sweatshirt.
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Refer back to point number 2, but seriously, why is our school randomly cold? None of us can seem to figure it out, but at random times you'll find yourself more frozen than Leo in The Revenant. When in doubt, pull over that sweatshirt.

7. Failing one test or quiz isn't going to keep you from your college dreams.
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It may seem like the end of the world at the time, and surely upsetting, but just remember - all of your grades are averaged out at the end of the marking period, and then at the end of the year. All that will appear on your transcript is your final grade for the year, which is all four marking periods plus your final exam. So don't flip out. As long as you try your best, it will be okay.

8. You're not the only one who is stressed out beyond belief.
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Ask any one of your friends, and there's a 99.9% chance that they're feeling the exact same way. You're definitely not alone. Just take a deep breath, push through your assignments, and then give yourself a break for a little while. Always, always ask for help, whether it's from your locker neighbor before homeroom, or straight to the teacher.


9. Older friends who pick you up Dunkin' are keepers.

Image result for you are my best friend gifs

If you happen to be lucky enough to befriend an upperclassman who will pick you up Dunkin' on their morning commute, be forever greatful. And most importantly, don't forget to pay them back.

10. If you forget to pack food before a game, snag something from the vending machine.
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Don't freak out if you realize last period that you didn`t pack any food for that game 45 minutes away. We have a vending machine that's always got your back- if you can rummage enough quarters from the bottom of your backpack.

11. You may have a class that you cannot succeed in, despite the hours of long work you put in.
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It may have seemed fine on the first day of school, but it won't take long for you to realize if the course load seems a little...difficult. Before you decide that the teacher is plotting against you, confide in some classmates and see if they're experiencing the same thing. Be respectful to your teacher, but keep in mind that you can always head over to the guidance office.

12. Pay attention to what classes you do and don't enjoy.
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This may seem like a weird piece of advice, but pay attention to your favorite and least favorite subjects. Once you figure out what you enjoy the most, it may give you some direction on what you want to major in when college comes around.

13. Keep all of your school supplies organized.
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Everyone's methods of organizations are different - whether it's binders, notebooks, or folders, find your method and stick to it. Keeping everything together will make everything easier when you have a test or quiz to study for.

14. Care less about what people think.
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High school is only four years of your life... are you really going to look back as an adult and wonder “did she like my new pair of jeans?”. Hate to break it to you, but you won't. Wear what makes you confident, join whatever clubs you're interested in, and do whatever makes you happy because at the end of the day, other people's opinion is not important.

15. Have fun!!!
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You're only here for four more years before you leave town for college, so take in every moment and enjoy it! School may seem unbearable sometimes, but in the midst of working hard, make some time to immerse yourself in all Sparta has to offer and embrace it!


Let's have a great school year!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Local Ideas For A Fun Summer

Written by: Brandon Drapeau 

There is a week left of school and summer is right around the corner. One of my biggest problems is that I am so excited for the summer, but when it comes around I always end up home never knowing what to do with myself. So now I am taking time to think of things to do this summer and sharing them with my peers, these are not in any specific order.

1. Go Bowling!


Lucky for us, we have a perfectly well-functioning bowling alley right in the town center. You can go with some friends, bowl, a game, and maybe grab some dinner at one of the many surrounding restaurants.

2. Play Spikeball!

The best way I can describe what Spikeball is, is that it is 2 versus 2 volleyball condensed down onto a trampoline. In volleyball, you hit the ball over the net, but in Spikeball you bounce the ball off the trampoline. The twist is, you can hit the ball in any direction, so make sure you rotate with your partner to keep the ball alive. There are many beaches around Sparta, so finding a place to play will not be hard. Last year, me and 3 pals played on the beach for 6 hours and I ended up getting horrible sun burn, but it was well worth it.

3. Go To The Boardwalk/Playground!


While this may seem boring, believe it or not, spending a day at the boardwalk can be a lot of fun because you may see a lot of people you know and they have a pizza and ice cream locations within 100 feet of each other. Chances are, you have probably already done this so it's nothing new to you, but it's always a hit.

4. Go Down The Shore!


Yes, I know most of you reading this can’t just go to the shore, they have to plan it and mostly likely stay somewhere with a parent, but it is very fun and something to spend time at during your summer (and it’s also a great place to play a competitive game of spikeball.)

5. Go To Mountain Creek!


Last year I bought a season pass to Mountain Creek and I didn’t use it as much as I should’ve. It has a lot of fun water rides and very large wave pool to cool off. My most favorite thing to do was the cliff jump. It’s very thrilling, but with our next option, there is a free version of this.

6. Go Bridge Jumping!


I AM NOT TELLING YOU TO DO THIS! I am just shedding light on a possible activity you can participate in, if you so choose. The bridge is about 15 feet above the water and is so much fun to jump off and land in the refreshing lake, not that I have tried it or anything! You can climb up the side of the bridge and do it for hours... if you don’t get caught. Be careful if you do choose to do this, and again, I am not telling you to if you get caught by the security or boat police.


This is a short and simple list of things I thought you could use to make your summer a little bit more fun. During the summer, have fun, and enjoy yourself, and make sure to apply sunblock. Can’t wait till next school year where I will write about what I did over the summer!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The True Diary of Freshman Year

Written by: Kanita Tariq 

I’ll be honest- freshman year was hard. 

Whether it was the boatload of assignments I put off until the last possible minute, or the uncertainty of who I could or couldn’t trust, my freshman year was a big learning experience for the next three years of high school. 

I was excited about starting high school. Finally- I was a grown-up. I felt independent, smarter, and a whole lot cooler. My whole life, I’d watch high schoolers on T.V. looking so cool as they smoothly navigated their way through, with an army of friends and supporters behind them. 

This was not my reality. In the real world, I had to deal with deadlines, quarterlies, as well as the struggle of maintaining a social life in between. I was tossed into the realm of Google and its helpful resources, along with a string of technical difficulties that often outweighed the good. I attempted to push away the horrific reminders of final exams, which is not something I can forget about anymore. 

I thought I could steer clear of the drama that came along with the transition of high school. As frivolous as my issues seemed, they meant the entire world to me. People changed. I changed. With a hectic end to the year, I found myself saying goodbye to some old friends. That doesn’t mean anyone’s a villain- it just means that some relationships aren’t meant to make it past middle school. 

It wasn’t all as gloomy as I’m making it seem. I solidified some old friendships, made new ones, and maintained good grades (for now… fourth marking period isn’t over yet!). I met some teachers that changed my life forever. 

The biggest takeaway was that I learned. Not just about the makeup of an organism or Napoleon’s rise to power, but about how to treat people, how to make a difference in the world, and how to be the best person I could ever possibly be. So while I cringe at the thought of setting my alarm for 5:30 A.M. every morning for another three years, or the big, bad final exams I have to face in just a few weeks, I can rest with the thought that I can walk away with a better heart and a better mind.



Monday, May 8, 2017

Wonder and Myth of NJ, From Garden State Outsiders


Written by: Will Nichols 



If there's one thing that will physically put growing hair on your chest, or make you cringe, is the fact that people outside of New Jersey believe things that are not true.


Myth #1: New Jersey is a dump, all urban, and all factory! Wrong. If you fly into New Jersey, you fly into Newark Airport, and you see Newark. All you do, is travel I-95, or transfer flights, and you don’t see anything else.You see the concrete tar,  trash and industrialization of this city. Unfortunate assumption? Yes, it’s an embarrassment to us.
However go north into Sussex County, and this is what you find!KIMG0006.jpg Lake Mohawk


This is what you see in Northern New Jersey. Scenery you won’t forget. Just so I can show you multiple sides of the spectrum, let me show you the south. KIMG0095.jpg
Sea Girt, New Jersey





From the Jersey Shore to Sussex County you can’t deny we are the Garden State for a reason, and if anyone says otherwise, give them a ride, and let them see for themselves, and watch their eyes get fully dilated, because it was unexpected!


#2. Jersey Shore(The Show) reflects how we act! Absolutely not! Jersey shore consists of a bunch of people who do not resemble our morals, faith and professional personality. I remember people being surprised I was from New Jersey because I was so kind, and it just led me to think how little they actually know about the state. We come from such a diverse culture, and are widespread, yet we are a close family, and bend over backwards to get the job done for our relatives and friends. Sparta alone are filled with several religions, sport teams, occupations, and people who have a purpose to help the society. We have the most realistic people around us who come from several different backgrounds.  At the end of the day, we all work together to forget our differences. The show Jersey Shore is the most pathetic example of who we are. If you can teach people something away from New Jersey it’s two things:


  1. We are the Garden State, and not every town in New Jersey is urban like Newark.
  2. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Just because Snooki is, doesn’t mean we are.


I rest my case.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Politicalization of Science





Written by: Sean Hannon
Our current political climate is extremely tense, with massive amounts of misinformation being released to the public by both the left and the right wing. Both ideologies claim that their own ideas are correct and all the others are made up or flawed. Politics clearly isn't a place for objective truth, which lead me to assume that the 2017 March for Science will be a non-partisan protest. Simply looking at social media sites and left leaning outlets I knew I was wrong, the pictures of the science march being about race, gender, immigration, and other non-science related issues was a huge eye opener for me. There I discovered the disturbing politicization of science - why are two total separate fields suddenly in the same melting pot?
To start, we need to address the Science March. It may seem like a relatively scientific event after some Google searches, but when you dig in deeper to the event, you unravel its liberal stance. Granted, you could argue that the plethora of anti-Trump signs where justified due to his stance on climate change, but there is no feasible reason for the race, gender, and immigration signs I mentioned earlier at this event in particular. Those signs are simply partisan talking points and when associated with science, hurts sciences credibility to Centrists and Republicans.

Of course, these are the acts of individuals and we can't paint the whole organization as partisan because of a few outliers. To see if the organizers are partisan you would have to get a direct connection to them, which makes their Twitter account a great source of information.
















I personally find these 2 tweets from the verified account most interesting. The first one is referring the United States Air Force dropping the so called ”mother of all bombs" in Afghanistan. Not only is it a horrible thing to do, but has nothing to do with science in any way.
The second tweet honestly baffles me. At least this tweet had something to do with science, but if you read the tweet it implies a negative connotation about science. This sounds exactly what some fanatic traditionalist would say to stop scientific progress. Even then, it would still be a condescending tweet towards a statement arguably taken out of context by Sean Spicer.
Finally, there's a tweet by a different March for Science account that showcases a staple leftist tactic, Identity Politics. Identity Politics is marketing a political ideology towards a specific group of people(for the Democrats, minorities and women). Otherwise the claim that colonization, racism, immigration, etc are scientific issues is objectively wrong, so the only message they sent was “we are good people because we care for others” instead of digging into the true manner they claim to advocate for: science. This is akin to a politician using kids in his campaign to look like a nice person.
Any Republican or science skeptic who sees these non-scientific tweets may lose faith in science as a medium, which will hurt us all, considering that climate change is a pressing issue that many still deny. These idiotic tweets are just going to reaffirm their beliefs that climate change is leftist propaganda, and has no base in reality. With leaders like Bill Nye selling out to non-facts, the climate change argument is in more danger than ever.

Friday, April 28, 2017

New Exoplanet is Biggest Probable Host for Extraterrestrial Life

Image result for LHS 1140b

We might not be as alone in the universe as we thought.

Recently, a new exoplanet named LHS 1140b was discovered only 40 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cetus. It has been classified as a “Super Earth,” or a larger and more massive planet than ours, orbiting within the habitable zone of a red dwarf star solar system.

Here are the exoplanet’s stats: 18,000 km in diameter (1.4 times larger than Earth’s), at least 5 billion years old, and a density 7 times greater than Earth’s, making scientists suspect the planet to be mostly rocky with a dense iron core.

The main cause for excitement is that the planet is within its system’s habitable zone. While LHS 1140b orbits 10 times closer to its sun when compared to Earth, it receives only half of the sunlight Earth gets due to the red dwarf’s faintness, making most scientists declaring it a worthy candidate to host life.

The B.B.C.’s Sky at Night Magazine had a chance to talk to Xavier Delfosse and Xavier Bonfils, who worked with the CNRS and IPAG in Grenoble, France, and they had this to say about this amazing discovery, “The LHS 1140 system might prove to be an even more important target for the future characterization of planets in the habitable zone than Proxima b or TRAPPIST-1. This has been a remarkable year for exoplanet discoveries!”

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Floating Cities May One Day be the Birthplace of New and Experimental Government


Image result for seasteading institute
Over the course of the election and of President Trump’s time in office, have you ever wondered, “Man! Isn’t there any way to reform the entire government and shift it into a new structure without having to deal with all of the laws and pesky politicians who can’t agree on anything?”


No? Just me?


Well, thought of it or not, the idea of experimenting with government is one of the main bases of the Seasteading Institute, who have, over the course of a few years, displayed their idea of allowing people to experiment with the idea of governmental policy as they live on floating cities.


An artist’s renditioning of a floating city (Source: wired.com)


The reason for these floating cities to be, well... floating, is because as the Institute’s website states, “At The Seasteading Institute, we believe that experiments are the source of all progress: to find something better, you have to try something new. But right now, there is no open space for experimenting with new societies. That’s why we work to enable seasteading communities — floating cities — which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for how to live together.” (Source: https://www.seasteading.org/about/)


By creating and experimenting with these new societies on the sea, breakthroughs in agriculture, sustainable energy, health care, and medical research are now more possible than ever before. Their websites claims, “Our goal is to maximize entrepreneurial freedom to create blue jobs to welcome anyone to the Next New World.” (Source: https://www.seasteading.org/about/)


Sound like fun? Ready to pack your bags and take to the sea? It’s best that you hurry, because these floating cities may appear sooner than you think!


In San Francisco, on January 13, 2017, the government of French Polynesia signed an agreement with the Seasteaders that allowed development of the floating island project within their country.  Randolph Hencken, Executive Director of the Seasteading Institute, had this to say about the historic occasion, ““The Seasteading Institute and the government of French Polynesia will draw from the best practices of more than 4000 existing Special Economic Zones around the world to create a ‘Special Economic SeaZone’. The SeaZone will combine the advantages of French Polynesia’s geopolitical location with unique regulatory opportunities specifically designed to attract investors.”  (Source: https://www.seasteading.org/2017/01/government-french-polynesia-signs-agreement-seasteaders-floating-island-project/)


An artist renditioning of what French Polynesia’s floating cities will look like (Source: maritime-executive.com)

With this first step, French Polynesia may become the leading country in Seasteading, and influence country's across the globe to invest in the project as well. So, whenever you think that our government will never leave its conflictual state, you’ll be relaxed to know that it’ll so be possible to find a resolution literally floating by.