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University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 7/7/23: Beware the Shoggoth with Smiley Face

One may smile and smile and be a villain 

The Shoggoth with Smiley Face meme popped up in 2022 to symbolize the notion that the true powers of conversational AI are being masked to allow commercial public consumption. So says, which provides a history of the tentacled Shoggoth, from its H.P. Lovecraft origin to its new iterations in social media.

Codebreaking for the 21st century 

The new Block E Learning Centre at Bletchley Park, U.K., welcomed its first students on the anniversary of D-Day, June 6. The new center greatly increases the capacity of the program, which hosted 30,000 students in 2022. At the site, primary through high schoolers learn about the achievements of the WWII codebreakers and their relevance to today’s world, according to MysteryReadersInc.

From ka-pow to cage match 

From ArsTechnica, we have the backstory of the feud between tech bazillionaires Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. According to author Eric Berger, it began with Zuckerberg’s caustic post about the SpaceX explosion that destroyed a satellite on which Facebook had leased bandwidth. Will the years-long rivalry really climax in a Vegas throwdown? Stay ’tooned.

A walk on the mild side 

BoingBoing directed us to Cityhop Cafe, a cool and pleasantly addictive walkabout site. Stroll along a sidewalk or take a drive accompanied by a laid-back soundtrack as you ramble back alleys in Japan, explore a pedestrian mall in Prague, ride through the night streets of Paris or travel up a Tibetan mountainside. Where to next?

Save our ships 

For more than a century, five generations of one family photographed efforts to save ships wrecked in the notorious straits between Cornwall and the Scilly Isles. Now the National Maritime Museum has taken on a different salvage task, that of preserving and archiving the glass plates and negatives going back 140+ years, images that record the history of shipbuilding and the history of photography. AltasObscura chronicles the archival efforts.

The scan in your hand 

If you need to scan the occasional document, you can save yourself a trip to Staples by using your smartphone or tablet. provides helpful instructions for both iPhones and Android, including screenshots to lead you step-by-step through the process.

The architecture of enlightenment 

Time again for a look at some of the world’s most beautiful libraries, with images from a just-published book by Gestalten. The aptly named Temples of Books: Magnificent Libraries around the World celebrates their stunning architecture and quietude, and art platform Colossal includes several jaw-dropping plates from the book to enjoy.

The golden prompt 

Users are finding that the secret to getting a good response from an AI chatbot is to provide the right prompt. NY Times tech reporter Brian Chen offers tips on what he calls “the golden prompts,” the precise words and framing to generate the most helpful answers.

Mad as H-E-double toothpick 

Fed up with iPhone autocorrecting your scurrilous speech? According to, among its new features this fall, the Apple iPhone will no longer correct your swear words. (Of course, a truly smart phone would ask if you really want to send that.) Other updates include live voicemail and some new emojis.

Return of the Cat Mummy 

In a new video game from Google’s Arts & Culture, players journey to ancient Egypt and slip into the wrappings of a cat mummy, brought briefly back to life by the cat goddess Bastet. In the game, Cat Mummy must overcome challenges and collect various items to ensure a happy afterlife for a deceased Pharoah. One challenge to overcome: not getting distracted by mummy mice.