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University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 5/5/23: Walk the bridge of the Starship Enterprise

Best free games of 2023

The quality of free video games is on the rise, says Engadget, which reviews a collection of pared-down but no-cost versions of popular games like Genshin Impact, Overwatch and Fortnite Battle Royal. Some higher levels may require cash, but these make a nice starter pack.

Haute cuisine 

You don’t need to be a billionaire to picnic in space. Just very rich, thanks to the French start-up Zephalto. For €120,000, the company plans to send customers 25 km into the stratosphere in a yet-to-be-built space balloon. Once there, passengers will be able to observe the curvature of the earth, take photos and share via wi-fi with their earth-bound friends, all while dining on gourmet fare and fine wine. French, of course.

Cool, weird, and in-between 

This listicle from Gizmodo features some of the weirdest gadgets debuting in April, 2023, from a square-wheeled bicycle (why?) to a 20-foot-tall Donkey Kong game (again, why?) to a discrete scale that can be programmed to show encouraging messages instead of your weight (now, we’re talking).

Which is the real Joanna? 

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern replaced herself with her AI twin for the day and put "her" through a series of challenges, including creating a TikTok, making video calls and testing her bank's voice biometric system. This video tracks what goes into making a realistic clone these days. But is it good enough to fool a sister?

Freedom to read 

The Brooklyn Public Library’s Books Unbanned initiative provides free library cards to teens 13-21 anywhere in the US. During National Library Week (April 23-29), the BPL announced it had loaned 100,000 books to 6,000 young people in all 50 states over the past year. “As bans reach record numbers again this year, we will continue to fight for the books we agree with and those we don’t—with equal fervor—for that is what democracy demands,” said BPL president Linda E Johnson.

Save the children 

US senators have introduced a bi-partisan bill that aims to protect children under 13 from social media by requiring age verification, among other provisions. If enacted, the bill would change how both children and adults operate online, says The Verge. Meanwhile, the Texas Tribune reports that the Texas house passed a bill requiring children under 18 to get parent or guardian permission to create a social media account.


Over in the UK, Parliament is pondering the Online Safety Bill which aims, among other protective measures, to keep children under 13 off certain platforms by requiring proof of age. According to the BBCWikipedia has stated it has no intention of age-checking its users, claiming it would violate the commitment to collect minimum data about its readers and contributors.

Baby’s first email  

For some parents, though, it’s never too early to get Baby started on social media. The New York Times reports that future-focused parents are setting up email, Instagram and Facebook accounts for their babies, sometimes even before the child is born. The goal, apparently, is to get the child’s full name without a dot or underscore in it. Let some other loser baby be juliet.johnson@…

Take a broom to your browser 

Finnish researchers at Aalto University have discovered that 25% of internet users feel overwhelmed by the clutter in their browser. Causes include having too many tabs open and multi-tasking, such as trying to make travel arrangements while chatting with friends. “It’s like using your kitchen table for dining, homework and playspace, simultaneously and without any tidying,” says one. Calling Marie Kondo.

New challenge for math nerds 

Good news for number puzzlers – the New York Times has developed a new daily game that’s like Wordle with mathsays Mashable. “Digits” is currently in beta, meaning you can test it out now. And test it you should, since the Times will be evaluating whether or not to add it to its stable of games depending on how the beta launch goes.

Trekkie treat 

The largest-ever collection of iconic Star Trek digital archive works is available for free for the first time through a new web portal bridging the legacies of all three major eras of Roddenberry’s Star Trekaccording to Deadline. The web portal allows fans to explore all two dozen versions of the Starship Enterprise bridge, in 1:1 scale “in-universe” experiences. Yeah, beam us up.