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University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 11/7/22: Library holds a treasure trove of Disney lore

Ukraine’s women warriors on the information front

Ukraine’s war is being fought on two battlefields, on the ground and online. Leading the fight in Ukraine’s information war is Dattalion. Run by a few dozen women, Dattalion (a blend of data and battalion) is an online database of stories from the frontlines of Ukraine – photos, videos and first-person testimonials. Founder Nataliya Mykolska tells Grid, “We are on a mission. And our mission is to help Ukraine to win this war.”

Forewarned is forearmed

Tech companies, government agencies and nonprofits are among those working to combat misinformation regarding elections and other hot-button issues. One of their tactics is “pre-bunking,” teaching people how misinformation works and how to recognize it in the wild. “It’s a bit like getting inoculated against a disease,” says one researcher in this NPR feature. “You can build mental armor or mental defenses against something that's … trying to manipulate you, if you learn a little bit about it.”

What we ate, way back when 

Cookbooks are windows into history, documenting daily life and offering snapshots of regional and cultural identity at particular moments in time. Open Culture reviews a few of the 10,000+ vintage recipe books now digitized in the Internet Archive’s Cookbooks and Home Economics collection. One favorite is the 1957 Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls, a Baby Boomers bible. Who remembers penuche frosting?

The skinny on ATM data skimmers 

Good things may come in small packages, but so can really bad things, like the “crazy thin” data skimmers fraud investigators have found in ATMs around New York City. Half the height of a dime, these skinny skimmers copy the magnetic strip on the ATM card while a pinhole camera captures the PIN. Krebs on Security suggests some ways to protect yourself from this latest scam.

Reel-y annoying 

If you feel that Facebook is force-feeding you content in which you have zero interest, Lifewire may offer some relief. This article explains how to get rid of (or see fewer) Facebook Reels, those TikTok-ish short-short videos featuring other people’s pets, children and lousy grammar.

Kids say the darndest things 

Last month, we shared a story about an individual winning a controversial prize with his AI-generated artwork. This month, a doting mom lets her 4-year-old son suggest images to both DALL-E and Stable DiffusionHow To Geek has the side-by-side results of the two programs’ responses to the child’s imagination, so you can see how they interpret a praying mantis eating pizza, for example.

Add crackle and pop to your snaps 

Surely you’re not just posting your vacation photos online with a caption. Yawn. Honkiat has found 10 websites that help you jazz up your photos with special effects, templates, fancy fonts and filters. And if you need a new avatar, there’s a link for that too. No Photoshop required.

A treasure trove of Disney lore 

For some of us, “the most magical place on earth” is a library, and the quintessential magical library might just be in Orlando. The downtown public library houses a treasure trove of Walt Disney World history. Documenting the iconic amusement park from the 1960s to the present day, the collection includes books, photos, press releases and memorabilia, says Atlas Obscura.

Scents and sensibility 

One of the symptoms of COVID can be loss of smell, and for some survivors that loss could be permanent. For decades scientists have been working on hardware to help those who suffer anosmia, or the inability to smell. Similar to a cochlear implant, a neuroprosthetic nose would transmit odors to the brain’s olfactory bulb via an implanted receiver. IEEE Spectrum noses out the story of this scientific breakthrough.

Gone but not forgotten 

Genealogists should delight in a new tool for tracking down ancestors and other relatives. Research Buzz editor Tara Calishain has developed Obit Magnet, which searches newspaper databases for obituaries. It’s especially useful for people with common names – like John Smith, for example. All you need is first and last names and date of death and you can go digging.