Giving rice for free!

Forgive me for being skeptical, but rice for free?

The FreeRice website claims that for every correct answer while playing their vocabulary brain-teaser, they will donate 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme to help end hunger.

I’ll admit it. I was a complete cynic too.

So I decided to actually visit the website and play the game. It started off fairly easy. ‘Effect’ means ‘result’…correct! ‘Teacher means ‘instructor’…correct! As I continued to get each answer right, I noticed the questions gradually getting harder and after 13 right answers, I finally got one wrong. It felt really nice to be sharpening my vocabulary skills – something I hadn’t touched on since finishing high school. It was then that I saw a banner mentioning my donation of 130 grains of rice – ten for each of my right answers as promised. Curious to find out how all this works, I dug deeper.

In Read more…

Inspirational talks from TED

TED is not a person.

Don’t worry I made the same mistake the first time too, thinking

Wow, this TED guy is really smart and gives some really thought provoking speeches. How come I haven’t heard of him before?

And even though the person giving the talk was always different, it never really occurred to me that TED was in fact not a person, but an organization.

One that is determined to create ideas worth spreading.

TED – the organization

Founded by Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks in 1984, TED started out as a conference bringing people together from three disciplines: Technology, Entertainment and Design.

Since 1990, the conference has been held annually in Long Beach and Palm Springs (USA) and has recently expanded to a TEDGlobal conference in Oxford, UK.

In these conferences, some of the most remarkable thinkers (scientists, professors, leaders, etc) in the world would get up on stage and give some of the Read more…

Why Wikipedia Deserves Our Money

I confess, I’m a junkie.

An information junkie. Should I have a conversation or debate with someone where God-forbid I don’t know something, I’ll slowly find a wifi spot, pull out my phone and “wiki” that info. Sneak back into the conversation (like Bond), drop some heavy insight into the argument, and yes…almost certainly, walk away with the win!

Yeah, I said I’ll ‘Wiki’ that information!

But who here hasn’t ‘Wiki’d’ something in order to broaden their knowledge of a certain subject, only to click on the next link and the next. Before we know it, we’ve been on Wikipedia for an hour, learning stuff.

But did you know that the term Wiki isn’t theoretically correct since a “Wiki” is just any website which allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. (*sourced from Wikipedia)

I lose you there? Read more…

Khan Academy: The Future of Education

Education for most people around the world is not free.

It actually costs money – and a lot of it.

I’m not going to delve into the numbers too much (as they vary according to country and grade level), however picture this for a moment…

The cost of raising a child alone (form birth to age 17) is approximately $182,857.

17% of that is child education = $31,085.69. If education costs money, it becomes an expense – and essentially schools become a business, and a business’ responsibility is to cater to the bottom line – profit.

Education = Expense
Schools = Business
Education = Profit

In today’s consolidating economy, people are getting paid less to do more, yet the cost of education continues to rise at an average rate of 6% annually.

If a parent’s income suffers in any way, they’re forced to make a very tough decision – one that may force them to pull their child out Read more…

Why Did I Buy That? – The Story of Electronics

For those of you who know me personally, especially at the time I had bought my first Smartphone, the N97 in August of 2009, you may remember how proud I was that it wasn’t an iPhone.

I carried on about how the N97 was not only a touch phone, like the iPhone, but it also had a QWERTY keyboard, like the Blackberry.

The phone did everything I needed: Update my Facebook, Twitter, send emails via Gmail, video capabilities, 5mp Carl Zeiss camera, 32gb for my music, an fm transmitter so I could listen to it in my car and yes, I’d even use it to for phone calls from time to time.

I was a winner! Someone who had a phone to end all phones.

3 months later Nokia released the N97 mini and a few months later – the N900. And just last month, when I was visiting the Nokia stand at GITEX Read more…

DonorsChoose: You Can Choose to Help Students Learn

Take yourself back. All the way back – to when you were in school.

It’s after recess, you’re sitting at your desk watching your classmates getting excited about the paper-mache project you and your peers will be spending the afternoon working on. You’re enthused as well, but unlike the rest, you’re containing yourself. You know what you’re going to create, and it’s going to be awesome.

The teacher walks in and she has an announcement. “Class, due to budget cuts and lack of funding, the principal has decided that we will not be buying any supplies this year and unfortunately, that means no glue. So unfortunately our craft session will have to be cancelled. We can spend the rest of the day learning art history instead”

I apologize to the people who love art history (I’m one of them) but I was really looking forward to making a paper-mache light saber!

More and more, Read more…

Our stuff and its interesting story

Let’s agree on something: We all buy stuff. Right?

When I’m at the store, all I really care about is getting a bargain. If it’s the right price, I’ll buy it and I’m sure you’re the same way too.

Not once through the whole process do I stop to think – Where has this come from? What was involved in making this? Is it really safe for me? Do I actually need this?

As long as we walk away with a good deal, we are happy.

Lately however, we’re constantly hearing about words like consumerism, sustainability, the environment, sustainable development and the list goes on. Everyday we’re being told to reduce our consumption and increase our awareness.

I for one hate being told to do something without reason. If someone really wants me to do something, I want them to help me understand the situation first. Well, recently I came across a video that Read more…

A positive Ripple effect from a few Aussies

Ripple (verb) – to cause small waves.

A ripple effect is often used to describe a situation where an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally. These effects can be either negative or positive and occur quite frequently in society and yes, the Internet. But let’s switch it up for a few seconds – We use search engines (like Google) to look for things on the web (news, entertainment, products, information, etc.).

Alright, so imagine combining the two and creating a search engine that creates a positive and socially conscious ripple effect.

Well on May 4th 2007, 4 friends from Australia (Jehan Ratnatunga, Simon Griffiths, Matt Tilleard and Mack Nevill) did just that.

Together they decided to use Google’s built in search engine (Google Co-op) to build a non-profit website that harnesses the power of the Internet, leverages affiliate advertising to generate revenue, and use that money to help people, instead of Read more…