Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Little+A Little=A Lot

I've come across a couple websites in the past few days that are worthy of mentioning. For both of them, the general concept is that if many people each contributes a little, everyone will achieve a lot.


The first is blackle.com, a black search engine powered by the media giant Google. Blackle was conceived when a blogger posted that Google could save an estimated 750 megawatt hours of energy per year by making their website black. Technically speaking black screens consume less energy than white screen, 74 watts for white and 59 watts for black. Blackle keeps track of the energy it has saved right on the webpage and so far the number is over 267,000 watt hours since the page's launch in January 2007 (there are 1,000,000 watt hours in a megawatt hour). I understand that few of us can decipher that technical jargon including myself, but I'm under the impression that were talking about some serious numbers here. Blackle also has other tips for conserving energy that you may find interesting as well. I have made blackle.com, my homepage because it functions just like google.com (my previous homepage) while actively saving energy. I encourage you to do that same. If you have a different homepage, then simply substitute blackle for the search engine you typically use. Of course if you have your own webpage it would help to make that black as well, though I imagine using blackle saves the most energy overall because it gets more web traffic than most pages, including this nice little black website known as Afro-Photo.


The other hotspot I urge you to explore is freerice.com This site is unique in that you can view it in two separate, yet intertwined, ways. It is a tool that can help you improve your vocabulary and it also is a place where you can donate rice for free through the United Nations World Food Programme to people living in extreme poverty. The website works by showing you a word and asking you to pick the best synonym from four other words. For every question you answer correctly, 10 grains of rice will be donated by sponsors of the program (you can seem them being added to a digital bowl). The site automatically adjusts the difficulty of the words based on how many you get right. In the past two days I've donated over 3,000 grains of rice and I've significantly developed my lexicon at the same time. The amount of rice may not seem like a lot, but first of all it is donated at no charge and secondly when many people play the game it adds up. On the 22nd of October, 2007 26,881,930 grains of rice were donated and that number is sure to increase as the site gains recognition and popularity (it has only been up about two weeks). So go check it out and see if you can best define the word:

madrigal

The choices are:

polyphonic song

money-lender

streamer

twilight

What do you think? If you know the answer to this one I'm sure you'll find some words that you've never seen before at freerice.com and if you have no idea you'd better go there and practice. Either way, go donate some rice, it's free.
(The answer to the above question is polyphonic song.)

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