Saturday, February 16, 2008

Define "abnegation"

Here's a site that I have a lot of fun with. It's called Free Rice and is an on-line vocabulary game that also helps feed the world's poorest people. Thanks to for pointing this one out.

The site generates a word and four possible definitions. If you select the correct answer, the equivalent of 20 grains of rice is donated to the UN World Food Program. The advertisers on the bottom of the screen pay for the donations. The banners are relatively unobtrusive, and I might -- just might -- have occasion to purchase an item from On the other hand, I now know the definition of "abnegation" and I intend to use the word often.

Since the site opened Oct. 7, 2007 nearly 19 billion grains of rice have been donated. That's a lot of meals for starving people, but it is still only a start.

There are 50 levels of difficulty. Three correct answers in a row moves you up one level. A wrong answer pushes you down one level. The site claims that it is a rare orator indeed who reaches level 50. Try the feature that saves your progress on your computer.

If you accept the premise that poverty leads to violence and extremism and that colonialism created much of the poverty in the Third World, it is easy to conclude that the developed world has both the moral responsibility and the self interest to eradicate poverty. At the 2002 Monterrey Conference, 22 wealthy nations pledged to donate .7 percent of the country's annual income (70 cents for every $100) to international aid. The United States is still the largest single donor, but still ranks 21st in terms of percentage of aid. Here's where it goes. Here's where we could do more.

Naturally, we have to make wise decisions with international aid. Sometimes our "help" works well...other times not so much.

Anyway, check the site out. It's a good way to kill time and help some people. Beware, though, you might actually learn something.



Anonymous said...

Nice beginning. I've been waiting for you to start a political blog. I'm glad you finally did. And I got all the way to level 49 at FREE RICE. I'll try again tomorrow.
Keep writing.

Kaelyn said...
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