Feed the World

"There are things in life other than money: hunger, poverty, misery." — BB Gabor

At this time of year many people's thoughts turn to doing good for others. 

John Breen, a Bloomington, Indiana, computer programmer recently turned his thoughts to the issue of global hunger and came up with a novel idea: A vocabulary game on the Web called FreeRice that uses advertising to pay for rice to be distributed in impoverished areas by the.United Nations World Food Program. (The UN program works with organizations in over 75 countries and when possible buys food locally to support local economies.)

Every correct answer you make at the site generates 10 grains of free rice in the form of advertising dollars paid by the site's sponsors. Ten grains a question may not sound like much, but consider what advertisers pay for clicks, and then consider the effect if millions of people play the game

Quesions have been raised–as they always should be–about who gets what money and where the donations actually go. According to FreeRice, simply by playing the vocabulary game, rice (in the form of money from advertisers) is donated for every correct answer. And the site's operators claim they make no money from the Web site. However, some sceptical folks in the philantrophy business have wondered about who gets the ad revenue when a visitor clicks directly on an advertisement in FreeRice: Does the site's creator receive the money or does it too go toward combating world hunger?

Whatever the answer, trying to do good is its own reward, not to mention the fact that you might actually improve your vocabulary.


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About jquain

Technology reporter, writer, and television correspondent, JQ has been covering the computer, communications, and consumer electronics industries for more than 25 years.A contributor to The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, PC Magazine, U.S. News & World Report and many other publications, JQ appears on CBS News television program Up to the Minute and on Fox Business.
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