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Fun Size for 1/5/21: Will a robot do your job in 2025?

The world of information - in Fun Size!

UMSI's Fun Size digest features tiny, delicious news tidbits relating to information and library topics. Reach us at [email protected].

Classic cuisine

If your Nana’s pierogi recipe is the pride of the potluck or Thanksgiving isn’t complete without Aunt Agatha’s oyster stuffing, consider sharing those family treasures with the wider world. The Smithsonian notes that the National Museum of Women in the Arts is collecting family heirloom recipes and their stories for a new online exhibition, “Reclamation: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals.” The public is invited to submit family recipes and photos for the exhibit, which opens January 18.

Top tech trends for 2021

2020 was the year that forced rapid digitization of everything from grocery shopping to college education. What will be the driving forces in technology this year? ZDNet asked four of its leading editors to peer into their crystal balls and forecast the new normal in tech for 2021.  Highlights include the resurrection of QR codes (not dead yet!) and more monitoring of employees “working” at home.

Job security in 2025

Speaking of future-gazing, has thoughtfully distilled the findings of the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs Report 2020” into highlights that include whether a robot will be doing your job in 2025. In 2025 humans and machines will be clocking roughly the same hours, they predict, but drywall installer jobs are going to be safer than computer operators.

Virtual time travel

Fuzzy black-and-white photos and herky-jerky moving pictures from the turn of the 20th century offer a quaint but remote image of what life was like way back when. The Saturday Evening Post features the work of a few passionate photo and film restoration artists who use Photoshop and video editing technology to make these images much more relatable. Take a ride down Market St. in 1906 San Francisco and step back into a surprisingly realistic past. ​

Strolling the stacks

Among the things we missed in 2020 was walking into a public library and just browsing. Accessing the library’s catalog and reserving books online can’t compare to a serendipitous stroll along the shelves. Internet Archive designer Drini Cami felt the same way. He created the Open Library Explorer, with over 4 million books on virtual shelves. Now you can use your browser to truly browse the stacks.  

Window on the world

One of the joys of travel can be renting a home or apartment in a new place and feeling like a temporary resident. While we’re currently house bound, WindowSwap makes it possible to enjoy that experience vicariously. People around the world share 10-minute videos of what they see out their window. Each click brings up a new window in a different country.  Oh, the places you’ll go!

#the end of the internet

CNET cheers a short, smart video, produced by Girls Who Code, that offers a tongue-in-cheek vision of on what the Internet would look like if every line of woman-created code vanished. “Missing Code” was created for Computer Science Education Week in December, which aims to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science.

Amazon’s booklist opens a crack

A major breakthrough in the library e-book market may be in the offing, according to Publisher’s Weekly. To date, Amazon Publishing’s booklist has been off-limits for library loans, but the company is in talks with the non-profit Digital Public Library of America. Amazon’s Audible and Kindle books would not be part of this licensing agreement, but hey – it’s a start. 

Diversity in data science

Black women are largely missing from data science, where Black people make up only 3% of data science professionals, but they are making strides, according to BuiltIn. In honor of #BlackinDataWeek in November, The Sadie Collective compiled a list of nine Black women you should know in data science. Ironically, one of the honorees was Timnit Gebru, who was recently fired by Google for a paper that showed facial recognition can lead to discrimination.


The Verge has awarded its Most Evil Company Email of the Year award to GoDaddy.  In December, the domain registrar GoDaddy sent emails to its employees expressing appreciation and telling them that instead of a holiday party they would be receiving a $650 holiday bonus. Employees who clicked on the link were told they had failed the phishing test and would have to re-take Social Engineering training. Bah to that humbug.

News from UMSI

Assistant Professor Michael Nebeling has developed a new three-course specialization on extended reality (XR) for the online educational platform Coursera. “XR for Everybody: The Knowing, Doing and Shaping of AR/VR/MR” encompasses virtual, augmented and mixed reality, which is the focus of a major initiative announced by the university one year ago. Read more.