Sunday, March 9, 2008

Free Rice Forever


No no, not Connie. I’m referring to the remarkable website, FreeRice, that manages to serves as a philanthropic endeavor, word quiz, mind stimulant (since you can deduce many of the correct answers) and stress reducer all at the same time.

Okay, so Marissa reported on FreeRice all the way last November (see “Put Your Overducation to Good Use”). But even though I quickly became addicted to the philanthropic website, I remained dubious about it -- as I would be of any new denizen of the blogosphere. And at first it seemed I was right to do so, as scandals mounted about bogus net charities.

So imagine my delight to find FreeRice ratified today by none other than Rob Walker in The New York Times. According to Mr. Walker (in an opinion echoed by the venerable hoax-busting site Snopes), FreeRice is the real deal. It has donated more than two billion grains of rice since October 7, using the UN's World Food Program as its distributor. Its founder is John Breen, a computer programmer with a history of using the net to make a difference; he also created Poverty.com just 14 months ago.

Sweet, eh? Now you can take a break from work productively by building your vocabulary (or reviving those obscure terms you picked up in grad school) and saving the planet at the same time. But when you visit, be sure to check the user settings so the site remembers your vocabulary level next time. If you appreciate a challenge, know that there are 50 levels in all -- but reportedly few make it past 48…

8 comments:

k. crow said...

I used Free Rice to study for the GRE! I'm glad to hear its rightful accolades sung hither and thither.

Mead said...

KC, you will appreciate my bragging that I maintain a level 50 most of the time...and yet I cannot win a Scrabble game to save my life, what's up with that?

Also, FreeRice now has a fab new feature that's really useful -- an aural pronunciation widget. So now not only can you use the word enceinte in a sentence (that was a new word to me, but probably NOT to Marissa the polyglot), but you can utter it confidently with the best of the Academy.

Marissa said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Mead! In fact, you've reminded me to return to playing FreeRice. Lately I've been obsessed with playing Minesweeper on my computer--but why do that when I can feed hungry people instead?

And yes, I know what "enceinte" means...but only because it's French :-)

jame.s said...

i was directed to FreeRice from your blog and, about four or five words in, it threw the term "dramaturge" at me....
are you watching me???

col ceathair said...

My comment today shall be entitled "Free oatmeal."


A shower is peltin' the rain on my head
The snowpack is meltin'
Get ready for Beltaine

Tom said...

Hi,

Wanna play another game? ;)

I take the opportunity of this article to present answer4earth .
Along the same lines of Freerice, it’s about general knowledge… and it's great!

Patrick Wohlmut said...

My best score is 45. I usually hover right around 43. Is it wrong that I assign some kind of shame to the fact that I don't score 50? Mumble, mumble...Freakin' smart people...

Mead said...

Well, Patrick, if it makes you feel any better, I'm not faring nearly as well at the site Tom mentions above, answer4 earth (http://www.answer4earth.com/index.php). I don't know how many levels there are, but so far I've hit a high point of 17 but I'm hovering are more like level 11. Ouch. So my vocabulary outshines my, um...general knowledge...freakin' well-rounded people!!