Thursday, November 15, 2007

Suspicious Minds

I know in this day and age there's this heightened awareness with respect to both national security and personal security and all. I know I bought a personal shredder at home just to get rid of credit card offers, for example. But is there a point where one's cynicism just goes too far?

The other day DC Blogs highlighted a site that I thought was kinda fun: Free Rice. It appeals to so many parts of me: wanting to help other people, not being to get up off my fat ass to do so, and dorking out over vocab words.

If you didn't bother to click over to Free Rice, let me give you a quick summary of its content. Really, all it is is an elaborate vocabulary quiz. The twist: for each word that one can correctly define, "they" will donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. Seems to me like a win-win: test your knowledge of 50-cent words (or learn some: "picaroon" = "pirate". Did not know that) and help stack up some rice for starving people. According to the stats they post, people are helping to raise almost 2 BILLION grains of rice so far.

(Okay, I know in the grand scheme of things that may not be many bowls of rice, since rice by definition is small and is generally eaten more-than-one at a time. But still, it's not bad.)

So I told my a good friend of mine about the site. Check out this exchange:

Dennis!: hey, check out this website:
Dennis!: the more vocab words you get right, the more they donate rice to some anti-hunger fund
Dennis!: and the words are kinda cool.
Friend: 1 word = 10 grains of rice?
Friend: what's the angle?
Friend: 10 grains of rice is less than a penny's worth of rice
Dennis!: then you kind of keep going until you get to a decent amount of rice...
which is kinda win-win, because you'll also test your vocab at the same time.
Friend: what does this site get though?
Dennis!: ?
Friend: people don't spend money for nothing.
Friend: someone has an angle
Friend: not sure what
Friend: i read it

The FAQ I linked to, by the way, explains the goals of the site and how they donation process works, and how the vocab twist on it is educational. Apparently not enough for my friend.

Personally, I think it's kind of sad that we've reached a state in this country where an effort like Free Rice -- which doesn't cost anything at all -- is met with such skepticism. Instead of saying "Hm, looks like fun, why not give it a shot?", my friend instead immediately responds with "This is clearly too good to be true, it must be nefarious, and I distrust it inherently."

Let me reiterate: it's free. You can learn some vocab words out of it. Who cares if it's really some huge sham and really no rice is going anywhere ever? You can still pick up some words from it. Unless you have some legitimate fear that somehow that site is either broadcasting brainwashing zombie images at you, or is busy snatching your password information while you blithely guess at vocab words, then really, what's your damage?

Live a little.

Surprisingly, this post is quite unrelated to the one immediately below this one. Perhaps I've just got incredibly stupid friends.

1 comment:

ByTheWayBetch said...

a friend of mine showed me that site and I thought "fun! I'm great at vocab!" right, well i only got 2 right. talk about a humbling experience.

i feel like i should buy a GRE book, just so i can help donate rice... and not feel like a total moron.

those words are g.d. hard!