We all like to believe we’ve got rich vocabularies, amassed over decades of diligent reading. If you want to combine some clever word games with your ninja keyboard skills, check out Knoword. The website lets you test your vocabulary skills by guessing a word based on its dictionary definition (and the first letter of the word), while a timer ticks away in the background. For every word you answer correctly, you win a few seconds; make a mistake or skip a word, and you lose a few.
The game ends when the timer runs out. You can also choose to play with world capitals instead for some extra nerd cred. Go ahead, give this a try!
2. Got Rhythm?
Being the drummer of a band is probably the coolest job there is (sorry, lead guitarists), but it’s not all about pounding every surface in your vicinity. Keeping correct time is the most crucial part of a drummer’s job - the whole band depends on it! Take a sneak peek into what it means to be a drummer with “Got Rhythm?” - a webapp that tests how well you can maintain a steady beat. You have to click your mouse in response to a metronome that plays a beat at 120bpm.
3. Listen to Wikipedia
The ‘Listen to Wikpedia’ project though, is the most innovative one we’ve seen so far - it shows you Wikipedia being edited in real time (a feat in itself), and generates a unique musical sound for each edit, or every time a new user joins the site. Wikipedia receives a few every edits every second, and each such edit is represented by a ripple, with the size of the ripple depending on the length of the article being edited. It’s a strange and beautiful concept that results in some relaxing music.
Few things in life go as well together as a good drink and a good song. Drinks here don’t necessarily mean alcohol, of course, it can be soft drinks, too. Having your favourite band playing at a night out at the bar makes the drink taste that much better, so it’s only fitting that we have a guide on the best drinks to accompany your favourite bands. Drinkify does exactly that – enter the name of a band in the search box, and the site will suggest the best drink to go along with the music, even giving you the exact recipe for the cocktail. As a bonus, the site will also start playing a playlist of the artist’s songs in the background as it shows you its recommendation. We tried entering a few bands and met with some interesting results – the site recommended a bottle of box wine to go with Pink Floyd and a Macallan neat to go with John Mayer!
5. Virtual Bubblewrap
The best things in life are free - and the simple, guilt-free joy of popping bubblewrap lives up to the adage. Of course, the joy is hindered by its availability - you’re limited to those times when you buy a product or an appliance that comes wrapped in layers of bubblewrap, waiting to be popped. This website eliminates that problem and lets you indulge in that pleasure virtually, replete with that soft ‘pop’ sound that’s produced every time you pop one. All out of bubbles to pop? No problem, you can ‘order’ a fresh sheet with the click of a button.
6. Now I Know
They say you never stop learning, and Now I Know takes the advice to heart, sending you a daily email digest, containing an article that presents an interesting fact with a little story or explanation behind it. The real treasure here, though, are the archives dating back to more than 6 years. That’s a compendium of nearly 1500 articles, covering a diverse selection of stories, including ones about a man who’s been arrested 1000 times, how Google uses goats to mow its lawns and why the Tower of Pisa leans. If you spend enough time on this website, you will be a genius in general knowledge!
7. 2048 Tetris
We all remember 2048, the addictive tile game that took the world by storm a few years ago. Well, as it usually happens, the viral nature of the 2048 game inspired a number of clones, includes ones that used the Fibonacci series instead of simple math, sub-atomic particles instead of numbers and even one that combined the game with another classic, Flappy Bird. Among the more interesting of the clones is one called 2048 Tetris, that infuses some features from the age-old classic Tetris into the now-familiar 2048. It’s a delightful mating of two well-loved games in a way that almost feels natural. Give it a try, if you have time to while away!
8. Find The Invisible Cow
This is one of those internet games that’s fun to play for the sheer idiocy of it. The objective of the game is to find a hidden cow on your computer screen. When you start the game, you’re presented with a blank page, and the word “Cow” being repeatedly muttered in the background. With a concept similar to ‘hot or cold’, the volume of the voice chanting ‘Cow’ increases as you move your mouse pointer closer the cow, and decreases as you move away from it. Using the level of the voice as a cue, locate the cow by clicking on its approximate location. As you advance through the levels, you unlock different animals to play with.
9. Top Documentary Films
“It’s not a movie, it’s a documentary” is a great way to convince people that you’re actually learning something instead of whiling away your life in front of the television, and Top Documentary Films lets you adapt the same excuse to your YouTube binge-sessions as well. The site is home to thousands of free documentary movies, spanning genres from history, politics and economics to conspiracy theories and biographies.
It can be a great substitute for movie night, and you end up learning something in the process.
10. You Are Not So Smart
You consider yourself a rational person - so much so that a lot of careful thought and planning goes into something as mundane as choosing a restaurant to eat at. Our minds though, are far less credible than we give them credit for, and the biggest culprits are our cognitive biases. These are systematic errors in judgement that creep in surreptitiously, compromising our ability for rational thought. These biases affect our everyday decisions, whether it’s choosing which item to order off the menu, how we approach a problem of. Luckily, the systematic nature of the bias (meaning that they occur every time, to the same extent) allows us to be aware of it and work towards mitigating its negative effects. You Are Not Smart is a collection of these biases that spells out how to identify and control them, resulting in smarter decisions, a clearer thought process and increased likeability among your peers!
Sure, 9GAG provides you with your daily doze of lulz, and you also get to feel superior to those who get their meme
fix through Facebook or (gasp!) WhatsApp. But if you truly want to up your meme-cred, your quest will take you to the birthplace of all that is k3wl on the Internet, 4Chan. The simple image-based bulletin board allows you to share and discuss images on a range of topics, including Japanese culture, Technology, DIY (Do It Yourself) or Television. Scratch the surface though, and you’ll unlock a deep (and sometimes dark) corner of the internet that revels in its anonymity and ephemerality – posters aren’t required to create an account, and threads aren’t saved, so discussions can disappear off the internet in a matter of hours. The site has given birth to the infamous ‘troll face’, our modern, image-macro, version of internet memes, and even the phrase ‘Epic Fail’. Fair warning though, there are parts of the site that are home to explicit content and abusive behaviour, so you might not want to be caught surfing it at work.
A website that calls itself the “Front Page Of The Internet” and boasts over 200 million unique visitors every month isn’t exactly unheard of, but its true beauty lies in some of its lesser-known, esoteric subreddits that offer a mixture of information, humour, shock or just mild bemusement. PhotoshopBattles is one where users are invited to use their image-editing skills on photographs to create hilarious results. HistoryPorn and ColorizedHistory are great for anyone with even a casual interest in history, and frequently throws up some rare and amusing photographs. WhoWouldWin is our go-to site to settle questions like who’s stronger – Batman or Superman, or who would win a wizarding duel – Albus Dumbledore or Gandalf? The subreddit even conducts an annual Game of Thrones tournament with users voting on the outcome of a 64 character-strong fight to the finish!
13. Draw a Stick Man
This is a fun little adventure game where you draw your character (A stick man), arm him with weapons of your choice and guide him through an epic journey, battling dragons and saving cats stuck in trees. You can get really creative with your character, drawing him as a six-legged monster (a-la Kafka’s Gregor Samsa), add a pair of wings (a-la Icarus), or just draw him as a humanoid robot.
14. Harry Porter Companion
The Harry Potter series of books are among the widest selling books of all time, and you’re right - the movie didn’t do justice to the books at all. You could wait around for some years before the movies are remade, or you could hop on to the HP Companion site, which has some delightful watercolour illustrations for every chapter of each of the seven books. Whether its hilarious stuff like watching Aunt Marge bloat up like a balloon or the heartbreak involved when a certain character(s) dies, the illustrations will delight every Harry Potter fan.
Also on the site are some character portraits and detailed essays discussing each of the seven books, which should keep you busy until the rumoured sequel to the series is released (You didn’t hear it from us!)
The best way to kill time is to challenge yourself to some engaging (but ultimately pointless) trivia. Before Buzzfeed and QuizUp, there was Sporcle - a home to hundreds of thousand of user-submitted quizzes and trivia games covering every topic you can conceive of. From knowing your capitals to keeping up with celebrity gossip, quoting lines from your favourite TV show to indulging in mind-numbing word games, this site has it all.
With a slogan that goes “Mentally Stimulating Diversions”, the site makes no attempt to conceal its true intentions, and is extremely popular with college students who claim it helps them study (Yeah, right).
This story was part our 15 year Anniversary celebration and first appeared in our June edition. Be sure to check out our e-mag app (iOS Android) to download the latest issues of Digit, SKOAR and d-mystify.