Photo: New Africa/Shutterstock

Prove You're Smart & Give the World Free Rice

by Julie Schwietert Apr 6, 2010
Maybe you play Farmville on Facebook or maintain a garden in Second Life.

I don’t really understand Farmville or Second Life, and since work keeps me online all day, I don’t really want to spend my leisure time in front of the screen, too. But if you like online games, why not take a few minutes to play FreeRice, a game sponsored by the United Nations designed for you to show off your smarts in order to earn free rice for hungry people.

Yes, the UN is now into gaming.

Here’s the premise: The UN asks you questions– English vocabulary, chemistry, visual art, language learning, geography, and math–and for every answer you get right, the UN’s World Food Program donates 10 grains of rice to someone in the developing world. The rice is given away by sponsors of the game.

The game is great for nerds, especially those of us who love to travel, and contrary to what you might expect, the questions actually get pretty challenging. Do you know the meaning of the word “mucronate”?

I didn’t, and that’s why I kept playing while I wrote this article… all the way up to 1,000 grains of rice.

At least I’m procrastinating for a good cause.

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