Friday, April 28, 2017

New Exoplanet is Biggest Probable Host for Extraterrestrial Life

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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

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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:

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:

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:

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:

An artist renditioning of what French Polynesia’s floating cities will look like (Source:

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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Men in Pinstripes

Written by: Brandon Drapeau 

In the New York Yankees' last ten games, they have been victorious in nine, sweeping the Rays and the Cardinals in the process. They would have won ten straight if it weren't for Tuesday evening's game against the White Sox, where the Yanks lost 4-1. Many of these wins wouldn’t be possible if it wasn't for incredible performances by Aaron Judge, with eleven hits (five of them being home runs) tallying eleven RBI’s. Also on the big performers list is Starlin Castro coming up big with a three-run home run last night to add to his RBI’s, giving him nine in the last ten games and solidifying the chance for a comeback in the game against the White Sox.
With lots of young talent on this team, some may say the Yankees can clinch their 28th ring this year. If 6-foot-7-inch Aaron Judge keeps blasting home runs, and the Yankees core starters keep throwing the way they have been, we might see Joe Girardi have to assign number 29 as his jersey number next season.

Scores from last ten games:
@ Baltimore: W 7-3
Tampa: W 1-8
Tampa: W 4-8
Tampa: W 2-3
St. Louise: W 3-4
St. Louise: W 2-3
St. Louise: W 3-9
Chicago: W 4-7
Chicago: L 4-1
Chicago: W 1-9

Editor's Note: This article was written during spring break, on April 20th. We are just getting the chance to get caught up with The Oracle as of now, 4/26, leading information to be delayed - the NY Yankees have since played more games. We will be posting future articles in a more timely manner.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Couch Potatoes Unite!

Written by: Lauren Groff

Looking for a new TV show? With all of the stress of constant schoolwork and extracurriculars, any Sparta student can tell you that free time to watch their favorite TV series has become sacred. Every moment you spend watching your favorite shows between homework should be spent watching something you actually enjoy and are interested in, right? As most of us have learned the hard way, the show that your peers are raving about may not always be of your interest. Here are a few suggestions based on your interests to avoid wasting time watching the wrong flicks.

If you are a sports fan.... Friday Night Lights
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Enjoy this NBC tv series, following the lives of highschool football players and their families thriving in their small, football-crazed Texas hometown. This show is honest, entertaining, and illustrates the important lessons every teen learns throughout their lifetime.

If Sci-Fi excites you… Stranger Things
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Chances are you've most likely heard about this one… but because it's such a good show, I'm here to tell you once again. Stranger Things, produced by the Duffer Brothers takes a unique spin on every classic 80's movie while uncovering an extremely dark and disturbing government secret. I must admit, I was never a sci-fi fan until I began watching this series, and I immediately fell in love with it!

If you like comedy… Parks and Recreation
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This NBC sticom starring Amy Poehler revolves around Poehler`s hilarious character, Leslie Knope, and her determination to beautify her town. Filled with lighthearted banter that is sure to make you grin, Parks and Recreation is the perfect show to take a break with at the end of the day.

If you`re into fashion… Gossip Girl
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Gossip Girl follows the lives of the children of the ridiculously wealthy Upper East-Side NYC tycoons. With their parents often away on important business ventures, the kids rule the scene with their high-fashion outfits and outrageous parties throughout the city. The costume budget for this show was particularly high, and every outfit is immaculate on Serena Van DerWoodsen (Blake Lively) and her best friend, Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester). If you enjoy the fashion industry, Gossip Girl is the perfect place to get some inspiration!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Family is Furever.

Written by: the entire staff at The Oracle

    On Monday evening, Sparta High suffered the scare of an accident endured by two of the dearest members to the Spartan family. Our therapy dogs, who graciously entered the halls of SHS in 2014 and then in 2016 were the victims of a horrible accident. Franc, our older member was struck by a vehicle and passed, while Stanley was left in critical condition. Unfortunately, the driver of the vehicle continued on in the road, leaving our two friends and our hearts suffering.

    Franc and Stanley brightened the faces of everyone, whether we visited them when we felt under the weather or when they escaped their humble abode and ran through our soccer game in gym class. The pups even attended freshman orientation to greet incoming students and make them feel welcome in their new school. No words can even describe the devastation of this situation. At only three years old, Franc was taken from Sparta High way too soon. Co-op student Lenny Fontes who works in the guidance office said, “Franc and Stanley have done so much for the students of Sparta High School. They were always there for anyone who needed them and they never failed to provide the students with a countless amount of laughs, memories, and love. They were a big part of this school and Franc will be missed dearly, hopefully Stanley can be back on the job as soon as next week.” Whether students suffer serious emotional troubles or just needed a pick-me-up, the therapy dogs are waiting with friendly faces and a gentle disposition in the guidance office to make anyone feel better. Any Spartan could tell you that the therapy dogs brighten their day at least once during their time at Sparta High School. Now that one is gone and the other suffering, a hole lies where they used to be, and a light has gone out in students’ lives. On Tuesday night, Instagram and other social media sites were flooded with pictures of the pups, for they have made an impact on so many of us. Franc and Stanley have made a lasting impact on the SHS community, and Franc will most definitely never be forgotten.

We surely marveled at the idea of getting yet another therapy dog this year, and our wishes were fulfilled. Stanley underwent surgery and the student body is sending their best wishes in hopes of a speedy recovery. Stanley suffered a damaged tear duct and may not have vision in his left eye, but he can structure cognitively.

    Ms.Konwiser, we cannot thank you enough for being a mother to the two pups and giving them a huge family, the students of SHS. Thank you for going through training to make them appropriate to be certified therapy dogs.Thank you for showing them love and making them excited to come to work everyday. Ms.Konwiser has done a great deed bringing these dogs into the Sparta High School family, for they have gone on to become some of the school’s most iconic members. They will go down in history as fighters of stress and fountains of happiness.

Thank you to Mrs.Graham's photography classes for the wonderful photos of Franc. Credit to Noelle Vallario and Billy L.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Top NYC Hot Spots for Foodies!

Written by: Mallory Collins

Planning to spend a day in the (notorious BIG) city soon? New York is always a good idea for a weekend getaway away from home, yet so close to home! You’re sure to get hungry with all that walking around so why not hit up one of these famous and fun spots.

  1. Serendipity 3 (225 E 60th St)
Loved by all (even Kim and Kayne) this nostalgic café is known for their famous Frozen Hot chocolate!
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  1. Tiny’s ( 135 W Broadway )
Need some Instagram inspiration? Then take a giant leap over to Tiny’s!
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  1. The Butcher’s Daughter (581 Hudson St)
Known for their amazing vegetarian options, healthy juices, and relaxing atmosphere, this place is the perfect spot to spend your spring days!
Image result for the butcher's daughter west village   Image result for the butcher's daughter west village
  1. Ralphs Coffee (711 5th Ave… Second Floor)
Love Ralph Lauren? Then you’ll love his coffee shop just as much!
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  1. DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections (550 LaGuardia Pl)
You know how your mom always yells at you for eating the cookie dough? At Cookie Dough Confections you can eat as much of it as you want without ever getting in trouble!
Image result for cookie do nyc    Image result for cookie do nyc
  1. Taiyaki NYC (119 Baxter St)
Want your ice-cream in the cutest cone imaginable? Head on over to Taiyaki for their famous fish shaped waffle cones!
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  1. Ladurée (864 Madison Ave and 398 W Broadway)
Ever wonder what it’s like to be Blair Waldorf? Well now you can! With their delicious macarons, tea, and other deserts you are bound to feel like a real Upper East Sider!
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  1. Milk Bar Midtown (15 W 56th St)
Too young to go to a real bar? Then try the Milk Bar for their one of a kind deserts!
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  1. Cupcake ATM (780 Lexington Ave)
Low on cash? Need a sugar fix?.... then hit up the cupcake ATM!
Image result for sprinkles atm nyc       Image result for sprinkles atm nyc
  1. Housing Works Bookstore Café (26 Crosby St)
      This is the perfect spot to relax with a book while enjoying delicious treats and drinks!
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Monday, April 3, 2017

MLB Season Opener

Written by: Brandon Drapeau

When you’re a baseball fan, there’s two months that we cannot wait for: April and October. October is where magic happens, and where the champions are decided - but April is where it all starts. April 2nd is opening day for all the baseball fans and players. It is where the beginning of record setting seasons, and the start to the grind for the World Series ring. In addition to the last sentence, Madison Bumgarner has become the first pitcher in baseball history to hit 2 homeruns in one game on Opening Day.

Opening Day Matchups include:

Yankees @ Rays (The Rays won 7-3)
Giants @ Diamondbacks (At the time of writing this, it is bottom 7 and the Giants are winning 4-3)
Cubs @ Cardinals (This game will or already took place at 8:35 P.M.)

Also on April 3rd, there are many more MLB games including:

Marlins @ Nationals
Pirates @ Red Sox
Blue Jays @ Orioles
Phillies @ Reds
Royals @ Twins
Mariners @ Astros
Braves @ Mets
Rockies @ Brewers
Tigers @ White Sox
Padres @ Dodgers
Indians @ Rangers
Angels @ Athletics

Based on some preseason eye-ups, we can tell this is going to be an exciting season. Bryce Harper in the preseason led the league with home runs at 8 and Pablo Sandoval lead the preseason with runs batted in at 20. Pitching wise, Eddie Butler had the most wins at 5, Javy Guerra had the most saves at 3, and Danny Salazar had the most strikeouts at 37.

Now that the season has officially begun, who do you think could win this year just based off predictions? Could the Cubs have a repeat? Could the Indians come back to the championship, looking for some vengeance? We may not know now, but I sure know one thing: This season is going to be a real full of upsets and incredible matchups, and there is much to look forward to.