Wisdom from the 8th Floor

I’m Zack, your favorite RA who lives on the 8th Floor, and I want to talk to you about the wonders of the Internet. Maybe you can relate to this:

So it’s Saturday morning and, feeling like you’re going to be super-productive today, you crack open those books and try to get a head start on that homework. You’re twenty minutes in, flying through your work, and then it happens. Maybe it’s a word in Spanish that you don’t know, maybe you realize you need to look up Avogadro’s number… whatever. ‘It’s cool,’ you tell yourself, ‘I’ll just Google it.’ But a quick Google search leads to a quick check of the email, and oh look, Sheena just commented on Jamie’s Facebook status, LOL, and OMG Stevie joined Twitter…

I’m with you. Somehow, I’ve managed to stumble through three years of similar Internet detours and arrive here at my senior year in college. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t efficient, and many a time I have looked at the clock to realize that I’ve just wasted several hours doing absolutely nothing. But I’m here to tell you that there is a better way. Instead of creeping other peoples’ Facebook pictures for hours, check out some of these websites to waste your time more productively: (oh and, you know, do your work, too)

SPORCLE:
By far, the greatest time-waster of them all. You go there telling yourself, ‘Just one game and that’s it,’ but then you’re sucked in. For those of you who don’t know, Sporcle is a website full of little timed games/quizzes on pretty much every subject. But Sporcle isn’t all bad; you can actually learn legitimate things, like the colors in French, the countries of Africa, or the highest grossing movies of all time – like I said, important stuff. There’s even a typing challenge, which is obviously a very useful skill for the college student. All I’m saying is, I’ve taken 5 semesters of chemistry but it wasn’t until I found Sporcle that I was able to fill in 103 of the 118 elements on the Periodic Table.

MENTAL FLOSS:
And speaking of procrastinating more productively, MF actually just had a post of ten ways to learn online while wasting time: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/27415 . And the cycle continues… MF is an actual magazine, but the website has all sorts of cool stuff on its own. All of the articles and stories are factual, but they’re on interesting things, like where do horse names come from, and how do countries choose what side of the road to drive on. I especially enjoy the “Morning Cup of Links” posted every day, which has five or six links to articles or stories or blogs from other websites. MF also has it’s own quizzes and games. Each morning, there is a “Brain Game” (Mondays are things called “Math Squares” – kind of like Sudoku mixed with fourth-grade math), and sometime later on, they post the Lunchtime Quiz. The Lunchtime Quiz takes many forms, but the best are of the “X or Y” variety (for example, “Who Said It: Jon Stewart or Martha Stewart”).

DARK ROASTED BLEND:
This entire website is pretty much like MF’s Morning Cup of Links, except usually with more pictures and less reading. You will see some pretty amazing stuff.

GAMES FOR THE BRAIN:
Full of little challenges to test yourself on. Unlike Sporcle, most of these games are based on things you can see and are more geared toward problem-solving. I justify this one in my mind the same way I justify Sudoku as studying for the LSAT. The advantage of this one over Sporcle is that sometimes your eyes start to feel weird after staring at the computer screen for awhile, which motivates you to get off your computer.

NYU LOCAL:
Kind of like the wild younger sister of Washington Square News, NYU Local is a student-run news website that reports on all sorts of things that the NYU student cares about (like celebrity sightings, when there are free movie screenings, where the best places to have class are, how John Sexton wants to take over the world…. you get it). They cover some regional and national news stories as well, and it’s all written in a very accessible (and entertaining) way.

THE FOUNDERS BLOG:
Clearly you already know about this one, so I won’t get into it too much. The Founders Blog keeps you up to date with programs in the building, special interest pieces (like this one! Isn’t it interesting?), bios of the lovely building staff, pictures from programs… the fun never ends. Bookmark it now!

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