Investopedia

Investopedia is a website that provides financial advice about stocks. There are countless sources that teach you how to invest. Also, you can look to Investopedia for information about how stocks are doing, as it shows if they are falling or rising. 

However, all of these aside, my favorite resource on Investopedia is the Stock Simulator. This feature allows users to “purchase” fake stocks with virtual money. This way, beginners along with more advanced stock owners can experience the stock market without having to risk their own money. 

In order to play this Stock Simulator, you only need to create an account with Investopedia. After you get that taken care of, the website is free to access. To start off, you are given 100,000 dollars (buying power) to purchase whichever stocks you would like. But, don’t worry, Investopedia also shows you if a stock’s value is projected to increase or decrease, and whether you should buy or sell the stock. Fortunately, Investopedia provides this type of help on purchasing stocks, so you can choose the right stocks to virtually invest in on the website. 

Some stocks that I have found to be successful on Investopedia and in the Stock Market recently (as of November 2022) are the Goldman Sachs Group Incorporation share and the stock of Costco Wholesale Corporation. 

If you’re interested in purchasing a share in a stock in real life, I highly suggest you try Investopedia first to research a bit about it. You can learn how to manage your stock as well as how to choose stocks wisely. Also, purchasing the stock in Investopedia before you buy in real life can help show you the patterns of that stock. Enjoy trading stocks on Investopedia! 

2022 World Cup

The 2022 World Cup has come and gone, just like it does every 4 years. However, this World Cup will go down as one of the top World Cups in history.

 The 2022 tournament in Qatar brought tons of surprises, and wrapped up with the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) completing his trophy collection and accomplishing the most decorated career possible in the sport of football(or soccer). 

If you don’t know much about the World Cup, don’t worry, I’ll give a brief explanation real quick. It is played between the national teams of the qualifying country. To qualify for the tournament, teams need to be successful in the World Cup Qualifiers or be the host country. The tournament starts in the Group Stage, where there are 8 groups of 4 countries, and after each team plays 3 matches (against the 3 other teams in the group). Then, the top 2 countries from each group enter the knockout stage, where if you lose, you go home. The winners keep advancing until they reach the last match of the tournament, the World Cup Final. The 2 teams that lost in the semifinals also receive a chance to compete for the 3rd through a 3rd place match. 

In the 2022 World Cup, we saw Belgium, the team ranked 2nd in the FIFA national team rankings, go out in the group stage. Denmark, the 10th ranked team, and Germany, the 11th ranked team, also failed to advance to the knockout rounds. However, the biggest surprise came from Italy, the 6th ranked team, not even qualifying to take part in the World Cup. 

A pleasant surprise came when we saw Christian Pulisic and the USMNT (US Men’s National Team) qualify for the round of 16, before ultimately falling 3-1 to The Netherlands. In the Round of 16, we also saw Morocco knock out Spain on their way to the Quarterfinals. 

In the Quarterfinals, we witnessed some more surprising upsets. First, Luka Modric and Croatia stunned Neymar Jr and Brazil by drawing with them at the end of extra time, even after Neymar’s 105+1’ goal as Petkovic (Croatia) came up with an equalizer in the 117’ of the match, 3 minutes before the end of extra time. If you only watch one highlight from the World Cup, I suggest it be Neymar’s goal against Croatia. Then, Croatia proceeded to beat Brazil in penalties 4-2, sending the 1st ranked team home. We also saw Morocco shock the world by upsetting Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal 1-0. Some believe that the Portugal manager, Fernando Santos, made a mistake by bringing Ronaldo off the bench, as it was too late for them to come up with an equalizer. Ronaldo, in probably his last World Cup, was eliminated in the Quarterfinals, with his dream of winning the international tournament being just a dream. Messi and Argentina barely got past the Netherlands in a Penalty Shootout, after the Netherlands came back from a 2-0 deficit and came up with an equalizer in the last minute of second half stoppage time (90+11’). France beat England after Giroud scored a decider (go-ahead goal) in the 78th minute of the contest. Soon after, Harry Kane skied (hit over the goal)  a penalty, missing out on the chance to equalize. 

In the Semi-Finals, the favorites won, as Lionel Messi and Argentina comfortably handled Croatia 3-0, while France defeated Morocco 2-0. However, Morocco’s record-breaking World Cup journey was a huge accomplishment as they became the first African Nation to make the Semi-finals in the tournament. Morocco also received 4th place in the tournament, losing to Croatia in the 3rd place match. 

Finally, in the World Cup Final, we saw 2 powerhouses, Argentina and France, face off for a chance to make history. France was looking to be the first team since Brazil in 1962 to defend their title and be back-to-back champions. Lionel Messi on Argentina was looking to add the last missing trophy to complete his accomplished trophy cabinet. The match started with Argentina looking dominant while France was worse than terrible. Argentina started off their scoring with a penalty from Messi. Then, Angel Di Maria finished the counter-attack with an outstanding goal, making it 2-0 Argentina. In the 79th minute of action, France received a penalty, and Mbappe nailed it through the bottom left corner (80’). Then, 1 minute later, in the 81st minute, Kylian Mbappe scored another miraculous goal, tying it up at 2-2. It went to Extra time before Messi knocked in another goal in the 108th minute, cleaning up the save from the French Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. In the 118th minute, Mbappe scored another penalty, accomplishing a hat trick and knotting the game at 3-3. However, France also received another chance to score in the 120+3’ where Randal Kolo Muani took a shot between him and the goalkeeper, which the Argentine goalkeeper Emi Martinez saved. The biggest regret for France is Kolo Muani had Mbappe running on his left, and a pass to the French superstar could’ve won them the tournament. Argentina outlasted France in the penalty shootout, winning 4-2 and giving Messi his much desired World Cup victory. 

In conclusion, the 2022 Qatar World Cup was definitely one of the wildest World Cups yet, and I await the 2026 world cup with tremendous excitement.

Steps for Teens to Obtaining a California Driver’s License

Many of us look forward to our 16th birthday, when we can officially obtain our driver’s license in California. If you want to get your license on your 16th birthday, it’s best to start planning not too long after you turn 15 years old, especially with all of the other commitments teens have nowadays with school, sports, jobs, and volunteering.
There are a lot of steps that are sometimes confusing to teens and their parents, so hopefully this information is helpful to start.

To obtain a driver’s license in California if you are between 16-18 years old, you must first complete at least 25 hours of classroom instruction or a virtual class, 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training, and 50 hours of supervised driving practice that includes 10 hours of driving at night (www.dmv.ca.gov).

The first step is to obtain your learner’s permit which you can do as soon as you turn 15 ½. Before going to the DMV to obtain the learner’s permit, you will need to take the 25 hours of instruction and pass the class, usually with a test. There are many ways to do this in person and online and many companies that offer this service. You’ll have to research and find the one that works best for you.

After you complete the class, you will receive a certificate to take with you to the DMV to prove that you’ve passed the course. It’s best to make an appointment at the DMV to avoid waiting in long lines. You’ll also need to complete the DMV driver’s permit application and have a parent or legal guardian sign it. When you go to the DMV you’ll need to bring proof of residency, pay an application fee, pass a vision test, take your picture and take a written test of your knowledge of driving laws. You must pass the multiple choice test with at least 80% of the questions answered correctly. Once you have done all that you may begin your behind the wheel training. If you pass, congratulations, you will be issued a learner’s permit and be allowed to begin your behind-the-wheel training. If you don’t pass the first time, its ok, you can try again, but you’ll have to wait at least 7 days and make sure to study hard during that time.

You’ll then need to complete at least 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training with an actual driver’s program. You’ll also need to complete 50 hours of driving behind the wheel with a parent or guardian who is at least 25 years old and has a CA driver’s license. Ten of those 50 hours need to be done at night.

After all of this, once you have had your provisional permit for at least 6 months and you are at least 16 years old, you can make an appointment at the DMV to take your in-car driving test. They’ll ask for current insurance documentation and give you a behind the wheel test. If you pass, YEAH! You’ll be an officially licensed driver in the State of California. You’ll be issued a temporary paper license, valid for 60 days or until you receive your official license in the mail. If you don’t pass, you’ll have to wait 14 days and try again and pay an additional fee. You can try 3 times before you are required to start the entire process all over again. This is why it’s especially important to make sure you are ready the first time around.

Requirements can always change, so please refer to the most recent information available at http://www.dmv.ca.gov.

Drive Safe!

#1s in the United States for 2022!

Have you ever wondered what the most popular fruit in the United States is for 2022? Or, perhaps, the most used application? Well, here are some #1s in the U.S. for this year so far!

#1 Vegetable: Potatoes!

Potatoes, a versatile pantry staple, are predictably the most consumed vegetable.

#1 Fruit: Bananas!

Bananas are widely enjoyed across the U.S. as the most consumed fruit.

#1 Searched Google Keyword: “Facebook”!

The keyword “facebook” stands at #1 for most searched on Google.

#1 App: TikTok!

As one may have guessed, TikTok, created in 2015, is the most popular app.

#1 Book: It Ends With Us!

Colleen Hoover’s novel It Ends With Us has been the #1 bestselling book so far.

#1 Movie: Top Gun: Maverick!

Paramount/Skydance’s Top Gun: Maverick has become the highest grossing movie, exceeding $400 million.

#1 Song: “As It Was”!

According to the Billboard Hot 100, Harry Styles’ lead single “As It Was” off of his newly released third album “Harry’s House” is the #1 song in the U.S. as of this week, and it has been on the top spot for 10 weeks.

Thanks for reading!

-Lam T.

Exoplanets and the Transit Method

Have you ever wondered about exoplanets? Exoplanets are the planets outside of our solar system.

There are multiple methods used by astronomers to discover exoplanets. One of them is called the Transit Method. As planets orbit their stars in a mostly circular way, exoplanets will always pass in front of their own star (at least, to our own perspective). During a planet’s transit around its star, its effects will be somewhat similar to an eclipse. The amount of light given off by the star that is visible from Earth will decrease until the planet completes its transit. Using the data like the drop in the star’s brightness and how long the transit was, astronomers are able to make various calculations. Not only are they informed of the exoplanet’s existence, but they also discover the exoplanet’s distance to its star or how long its orbit takes. More than 3000 exoplanets have been discovered using the Transit Method to this date. 

Still, though, there will always be mistakes in using this method as well as any other methods. There may be unseen details or simply missed periods of light differences by astronomers’ telescopes and graphs. There may always be unobservable celestial objects in our universe that may remain undiscovered. All we can do is try to discover as much of it as we possibly can.

I think it is very important that we discover more about this infinitely large universe we live in before other galactic clusters move out of our observable universe. This will eventually happen, as the universe is constantly expanding at an accelerating rate, moving an increasing amount of celestial objects out of our observable universe every moment.

-Peri A.

Beginners Guide to Boba

Recently, the new trend is boba. Expanded past the Asian American community, boba is a new nationalized sensation. Boba is made from tapioca flour that is then cooked in a sugary syrup. The tiny black balls are then usually placed in various types of teas, slushies, or smoothies.I have grown up drinking boba and even have ratings of all the shops I have been to on my phone. I do not want to call myself obsessed, but it may be true. Nevertheless, the real question is, what is good or bad boba and where should you go?

Brown Sugar Milk

If it is either your first time at a boba shop or first time having boba, a good staple is getting the classic black milk tea with boba. If you dislike super sweet items I would advise lowering the sugar level to 75%. You usually cannot go wrong with classic black milk tea, making it a good sample to try. It is well balanced, sweet but not overpowering. Another good boba for a first timer is Thai milk tea with boba. Do not let the orange color scare you, it is simply strong black tea with various spices that is then sweetened with condensed milk. This drink is very creamy and compliments the boba pearls. If you dislike caffeine, most shops have black sugar milk. This drink is whole milk combined with a brown sugar syrup and boba. The combination is very delicious and does not contain caffeine.

Southern Orange Country is filled with many great boba shops. In the Mission Viejo area, the closest is Ding Tea. Ding Tea has a lot of the classic flavors and is pretty good for what it is. My personal favorite from there is the Wintermelon Milk Tea. If you want to stay as close to Mission Viejo as possible, Ding Tea is a great choice. Also centrally located is ShareTea in Lake Forest. Similarly to Ding Tea, ShareTea has great classics like their Thai Milk Tea. My personal favorite shop is OMOMO in Irvine. Their fruit drinks are made from fresh fruit and their boba is the softest and chewiest you can find. Any drink is a good choice there, especially the fruity drinks. The issue is that the line can be long, so be prepared. Another one of my favorites is Tastea. Also located in Irvine, Tastea has the best slushies compared to any other shop. I usually get the Lychee Freezie, which is a Lychee slush with Lychee jelly and bits combined with honey boba. Their drinks are fresh and their boba is nice and soft.

As a boba enthusiast, I hope this article encourages you to go either get boba or try it for the first time. Happy Boba-ing!

-Lilly G.

Planet 9

Many people know of the planets in our Solar System: Mercury, Venus, our own planet Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. There are also dwarf planets, such as Pluto, Ceres, and Eris. However, there is one planet that is still hypothetical and completely based on mathematics and theory. Planet 9 is a possible 9th planet in our solar system. Hypothetically, it would be located far beyond Neptune, the reason it is currently an unconfirmed planet. If it were existent, however, Planet 9’s orbit around our Sun could take as much as 10,000 to 20,000 years, in comparison to Neptune’s 165-year orbit. However, it is important to remember that these estimates are all based purely on mathematics and theory, and nothing is currently confirmed. The theoretical planet is believed to orbit the Sun more than 10 times further from the Sun than Neptune, which orbits the Sun at a distance of 2.8 billion miles.

Far outside our main solar system, there is a strange gravitational effect on some relatively small celestial objects (like asteroids). The way they orbit the Sun suggests to some scientists that there is yet another large planet orbiting our Sun far beyond Neptune and Pluto. Still, some scientists also say that our perception of the orbits of those objects is simply caused by human error in calculating and ‘viewing’ their orbits. Until enough evidence is discovered, or the planet itself is spotted through telescopes or various other methods, we can’t really claim that it either exists or doesn’t exist. There may be some other explanation for this phenomenon, or perhaps there really is an undiscovered planet somewhere out in the furthest reaches of our solar system.

-Peri A.

March Madness

See the source image

With the month being March, sports watchers have something new to watch which will keep them interested. It’s March Madness! March Madness is the NCAA Division One College Basketball tournament where 64 teams compete for the right to call themselves the Champs. 

First of all, there are four regions in the NCAA tournament: West, East, South, Midwest. Each region has its own one seed, two seed, all the way up to the 16th seed. Until the Final Four, each region’s teams only compete with each other. 

There are six rounds in March Madness, but not all teams are fortunate to make all of them. In fact, only two of the 64 teams are able to compete in all the rounds. To qualify for the tournament in March, teams are required to have a great regular season or win the conference championship. First comes the round of 64, where there are 32 different games total. The one seed in each region matches up with the 16 seed, the two seed with the 15 seed, up to the eighth seed versus the ninth seed matchup. Then, the winners of those games compete in the round of 32, which consists of 16 games. Next is the Sweet Sixteen, with eight games. The winners of the Sweet Sixteen matchups compete in the Elite Eight, which is also a regional final for each of the four regions. The winners of the regions go on to compete in the Final Four, where the region champions play against each other. The sixth round is the NCAA Championship Game, where the last two teams battle for the rights to cut down the nets and hold up the trophy! 

Performing highly in this college basketball tournament can also raise the stocks of players trying to make it to the NBA. Some top players to watch in the rest of March Madness include Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga), Drew Timme (Gonzaga), Jabari Smith Jr (Auburn), Paolo Banchero (Duke), Mark Williams (Duke), Jaden Ivey (Purdue), and Ochai Agbaji (Kansas).  

Some top teams to watch in March Madness include UCLA, Arizona, Duke, Gonzaga, Purdue, Auburn, Houston, Kansas, Villanova, Wisconsin, and Texas Tech.

I always enjoy watching top teams battle it out during March Madness. Whether it’s a 15 point comeback by an underrated team or a 30 point performance by a star player, March Madness never disappoints! 

-Mert A.

The Most Beautiful Libraries Around the World

  • Biblioteca de Convento de Mafra: This library is located in Mafra, Portugal. It is filled with leather-bound books from the 14th to the 19th centuries. This library had once been a part of the Mafra National Palace and it’s exquisite structure still stands today because of the bats sleeping in the shelves to keep away any pests. You should see it if you are ever nearby!
  • National Library of China: This library is located in Beijing, China. Several shelves consist of archives dating to the Song Dynasty and even some made of tortoise shells and bones from the Qing Dynasty. In the year of 1909, this library had been granted by the Xuantong emperor as an ordinary library but after the Revolution of 1911, it was taken over by the Ministry of Education and eventually led to being the country’s national library. People of all different interests in books find this library absolutely astounding.
  • Abbey Library of St. Gall: This library is located in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The paintings on the roof and the fashion of the book shelves leaves people breathless at first sight. This library is attached to the church of Abbey of St. Gall and has archives that date back to 820 CE. In the mid-18th century, the library had been redone in the Renaissance art style and architecture. A must-see that doesn’t allow any photography inside!
  • Starfield Library: This library is located in Seoul, South Korea. A unique characteristic of this library is that it is located in an underground mall! This library seems to be one of the most recent of beautiful libraries as it was built in 2017. Its two-story athenaeum shows the space as glowing and the plush sofas there are very relaxing.
  • Klementinum National Library: This library is located in Prague, Czech Republic. The original library of a Jesuit library became the “Baroque pearl of Prague” national library of the country. The adorn ceiling came from the artwork of Jan Hiebl and a portrait of Emperor Joseph II is placed at the head of the hallway with all of the works done throughout the centuries that had been in libraries that no longer exist anymore.

-Saanvi V.

Volunteering From Home for Teens: Letter Writing

Here, I’ve included organizations for teenagers to volunteer from home with- this time, letter writing. Enjoy!

1. Letters Against Isolation

Letters Against Isolation aims to ease loneliness among self-isolating seniors through letters! Volunteers write creative, fun letters or cards, and then mail the cards and letters to addresses they are given. Even though you may have to make a small investment to buy envelopes and stamps, it’s an easy, self-paced way to volunteer! You can find them at https://www.lettersagainstisolation.com/

Volunteering | South Florida Water Management District

2. Cards for a Cause

Cards for a Cause aims to ease sadness and loneliness among children hospitalized for a serious or terminal illness through card-writing. There are instructions for writing cards on their website, along with an email address to mail pictures of you working on the cards, so they can verify your hours. When finished, you mail the cards in one package to a given address, from which they are distributed out to individual children. Because the cards are mailed en masse to a single address, your investment for stamps and envelopes will be minimal, making this a great and easy way to volunteer! You can find them at https://cardsforacause.org/make-cards/

3. Soldiers’ Angels

Soldiers’ Angels is a massive volunteer organization, with many different virtual and in-person opportunities, so take a look at their other campaigns! They currently have two letter and card writing campaigns. However, to participate in their variety of opportunities, they do require a $1 per month donation. You can find them at https://soldiersangels.org/

-Vaidehi B.