This Kind of Slacktivism Is Addictive

Following a half-hearted recommendation by Stephen Fry I started to play http://www.freerice.com today. It’s one of the more compelling ideas I have seen lately, largely because it’s so simple: Play a quiz. For every answer you get right, 10 grains of rice will be donated through the UN World Food Program. Easy, if not very much. The whole thing is funded through advertising on the site, which seems to be lacking totally.

The site has been around since 2007, so don’t expect any to turn up soon.

Now, how much are 10 grains of rice? I’ve counted somewhat around 315 grains of rice in one teaspoon. To get to 100g, I needed sixteen of those teaspoons. I did my math and found out that you needed some 25,000 grains of rice to feed a person for a day. So, don’t expect that your making a big difference. Still, a small difference is way better than nothing.

And it’s entertaining. You can choose from a number of subjects; arts, chemistry, geograph, math. And several languages. My favourite is the English Vocabulary quiz. I soon found out how much I have yet to learn. It’s no so much the words of Latin or French origin. We have a lot of those in German, and mostly they mean the same. No, what really gets to me is the high number of rarely used or colloquial English words you just don’t learn in school.

And it’s educational value is raised by the fact that you are presented those questions you answered wrong again a little later. So, even though I’m aware it’s no more that slacktivism, I’m going to continue playing.

Summer in Vienna, part three

The Viennese are world-renowned for their sort of macabre disposition. My siblings and I felt very Viennese last wekend, so we decided to visit the Kapuzinergruft (Imperial Crypt), where most members of the Habsburg family are buried. Well, not exactly buried, really. More like exhibited.

Kapuzinergruft Pietà
Why this Pietà near the entrance is crushing the heads of babies is beyond me.
Emperor Franz I Stephan and Empress Maria Theresia
Emperor Franz I Stephan and Empress Maria Theresia
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Another detail of the sarcophagus of Emperor Franz I Stephan and Empress Maria Theresia. Gives the word "stick figure" a whole new meaning.
Karl VI
This skull wearing the crown of the Holy Roman Empire is mounted on the sarcophagus of Emperor Karl VI. Note how a few teeth are missing. Creepy.

Summer in Vienna, part two

Riesenrad
The Riesenrad is a wonderful example for 19th century engineering. People sometimes compare it unfavorably to the London Eye, which is twice its height. But think of it this way: It's only a few years younger than the Eiffel Tower, and it moves.
Schnbrunn Front
Najad
I just stood there and thought how I envied that najad.
Roman Ruin
The so-called Roman Ruin isn't actually Roman. It was built in the 18th century.
Schönbrunn Back
Ugh! A baroque garden. What a cruel way to treat mother nature!
Schlosspark
The parks behind the castle are quite extensive, and beautiful, once you get past the baroque rosebeds and trees aligned with military precision.