By 25 May 2012 | Categories: web time wasters


Freerice’s premise is simple but profound: help people expand their vocabulary while ending world hunger. The site is formatted as a game; it dishes up a word and challenges players to identify its correct meaning by choosing from four possible answers.
For each word correctly identified, ten grains of rice are donated by the site to the United Nations World Food Program. The more words one gets right, the harder the game becomes; getting words wrong likewise makes it adjust to offer up easier words.
The site ‘warns’ that continuous playing may help its users better formulate their ideas, speak more precisely and persuasively, comprehend more of what they read and generally be more successful and smarter. To date 91 billion grains of rice have been donated.
Smarthistory bills itself as an art history ‘textbook‘. In truth, it is a lot more interesting than an ordinary book and the dreary connotation that holds. Instead, the site plays host to some lively, unscripted conversations about art by historians.
The site covers artwork that is organised by artist, art medium (such as oil paint, tempera paint and bronze casting) and theme, from ancient times (400 CE) all the way up to modern day works. The site is exceptionally comprehensive and a treasure trove for art lovers.
Longform collects and collates long form articles from around the web on a variety of subjects, including arts and culture, business, crime, science, technology, politics and sports. Articles can be saved for leisurely reading, using Readability, Instapaper or Read it later, either on one’s Kindle e-reader or one’s tablet or read online.
Articles include everything from a history of cellular ringtones, to the investigation into two deaths in Yellow Stone park, that reveals an unexpected perpetrator. While the topics featured are vast and frequently odd, they share the commonality of being superbly well written, shorter than a book but considerably longer than most articles found in print or online.
Very simple in its application but imminently useful for PC gamers, Can you run it? enables PC gamers to search for or select any PC game and have their computer analysed to determine whether it meets the minimum specifications required.
A comprehensive report is then generated, detailing what CPU, CPU speed, RAM, operating system, video card and how much disk space one’s computer has at present while showing what the game in question requires. 
The site does require installation of the latest version of Java before the report can be generated, but at 11 MB, this is fast and painless over a decent ADSL connection. (Thanks David H for the link!)
Links from around the web


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