Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brain Food

So Company, have you ever been hungry? Absolutely starving? Really? I mean, not what you and I are lucky enough to consider starving but actually, literally, starving? Me neither, and I am thankful for that. But there are a lot of people out there who are, you know, out there in the world.

Now, before you go *click* and start looking at OMG or TMZ or Facebook or something else because you think we are getting preachy, let me pose this question to you, because I think you will be able to relate to this one much easier: Have you ever been bored? Like at work or at home or wherever? I know I have. Well, there is a really easy and neat way that you can take the answer to the second question, and but it to use in helping take care of the first one. Because I know that you are good people, Company, and you feel like shit now because there are starving people out there and you are worried about being bored.

The United Nations World Food Program has partnered with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University to create the website called Free Rice. It is exactly what the name implies and it works like this: You sit down at your computer, you open your Internet browser, and you type in, which, through the magic of zeros and ones takes you to a site where you can answer trivia questions. Now, here is the kicker: for every trivia question that you answer correctly, ten grains of rice are donated through the World Food Program to help feed hungry people from around the world.

That is pretty neat, don't you think? The grains of rice that you cook up - pun intended - are donated by the generous advertisers on the site. Instead of paying for advertising they put their advertising money towards the rice. I think that is pretty cool.

Now I can hear what you are thinking, Company, I can hear you all nay saying out there. "Ten grains of rice for each answer? Ten grains is nothing. That's not even a spoon full." Well, that is true. But in roughly a half hour, I donated 2000 grains, and that was while I was on the phone and doing other things at the same time. So that is 4000 grains an hour, 32000 grains over the course of an 8 hour work day, 160000 grains over a work week. So how much is that? That's a little over five and a half pounds of rice. For one week. For answering trivia questions.

Questions on subjects like national capitals and chemical symbols, English grammar, word association, or Spanish vocabulary. Things you already know or things it wouldn't hurt you to know. And you really can learn. When you get a question wrong, it tells you the right answer and then waits like five questions to ask you again. So you get another chance to get it right. And another and another, if you so need, until you get it correct. So eventually you learn the answer, even if just for the short term. Just try it out.

Seriously, Company, just try it out. It's a great diversion of time, and it's a great way to use your unproductive time productively, if that makes any sense. You might not be getting any work done but you are helping out a good cause, run by a reputable organization, and funded by all the things that make capitalism awful - mainly sloth and advertising. So just try it out. I would guess that, like me, you will find it sort of addicting. And when did you ever think that one of your addictions would ever do anyone other than you any good?

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