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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Game the Whole Family Can Play

I've recently discovered an interesting game, and one that I've been playing for a while now without realising it. It's best played with an RSS feed, but there's a simpler version, too, suitable for younger readers.

The source of this game is the rather entertaining Out of Context Science, which offers a highly selective quote from various papers or articles. The game? Just guess what the quote refers to.

Some of 'em are easier than others; "searching for blinking white dwarfs could therefore be an exciting study", for example. In fact, that's an example of one that I had to read twice, as it seemed perfectly innocuous the first time around. It's a sorry state to be in, for one such as I who's read so many fantasy novels and seen so many sword'n'sorcery movies, to read "blinking white dwarf" and not think of a grumpy, bearded, short lad emerging from a mine. This can only mean it's time to read Lord of the Rings again.

Of course, some are a lot trickier. "the reward of a happy face made it harder for them to control their impulses", goes one. Some manner of sociological paper seems to be the source, but I was unable to narrow it down further (to spare you the pain of not knowing, it comes from here).

Been reading the science news lately? Then you'll probably know what "combine the right dosage of chemicals that will provide nourishment to testes in a petri dish" refers to. And if you don't, then at least you got to read the word 'testes'.

If you subscribe to the site's RSS feed, you'll just get the quote. No idea? Just go to the web page, and you'll get the source's title. If you've still no idea, just click on the link. If you want the simpler version, then skip the RSS and go straight to the web page.

But what, you ask, about a prize? Well, studies have shown that young children view knowledge as its own reward, and offering bribes serves only to diminish their interest in study for its own sake. So there's no prize. It's for your own good.

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