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Fun Size for 12/1/20: 200 worst passwords of 2020

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 umsi.funsize@umich.edu.


Wanted: one happy family

With kids, a job and preferably some interesting hobbies, to live rent-free in a beautiful Finnish village. Luumäki town authorities are looking for ways to make their village more attractive to the outside world, according to TheMayor.eu. Officials are offering a rent-free home to a family willing to document their active Luumäki lifestyle on social media, presumably in Finnish.


Library Takeout

Libraries have been challenged to meet patrons’ needs during the pandemic and academic libraries are no exception. A Duke University librarian was tapped to create a video explaining Duke’s contact-less reserve system. Calling on his music skills (primo) and his drawing talent (marginal), he created a video that has since gone viral, the Duke Chronicle relates.


Real good fakes

There are many reasons to include this New York Times interactive story on how AI can create fake photos of people, or photos of fake people. But the main reason is the stunning scroll through morphing faces at the top of the article… and not a single one is a real person.


Pass it on

Of course, you have a different password for every online account, composed of symbols, numbers and random strings of letters. But some people are still using 12345 and “password.” Password manager NordPass shares the 200 worst passwords of 2020 and sorts the worst passwords by category, such as names (Ashley), food (chocolate) and sports (soccer).


Flattening the infodemic curve

The World Health Organization wants us to learn a new word: Infodemiology. They believe that misinformation spreads like a virus and they offer seven steps to combat it. With pictures, which is always nice.


Shark attack

Here’s something you were probably curious about: the most-viewed video on YouTube in 2020The Verge reports that the winner is the kidvid “Baby Shark.” But don’t watch it. Just don’t. Watch “Masha and the Bear” instead, if you must.


Tay, the bigoted chatbot

AI is ubiquitous and getting more so, but it’s had some serious stumbles along the way. In discussing how to overcome racial bias in AI, tech blogger Evelyn Johnson shares the debacle of Tay, Microsoft’s chatbot. Launched on Twitter in 2013, Tay was supposed to learn language by imitating her fellow tweeters. This turned out to be a bad idea.


We smell a rat

What did Olde Europe smell like? From what we know about personal hygiene, waste disposal and food preservation in centuries past, it probably smelled pretty bad. But researchers in Europe are using AI to nose out and even recreate aromas from the 16th to early 20th century for their “Odeuropa” project, according to The Guardian.


2020’s tech turkeys

This year has had plenty of failures, so why should tech be spared? CNET looks at the biggest tech fails of 2020, because, at this point, what’s a little more pain?


Thanks for the messages

How antiquated a once-popular platform can feel. Writing for Endgadget, Kris Holt bemoans the disappearance of message boards where like minds used to gather to discuss Foo Fighters, PlayStation and every other interest under the sun. Today’s platforms don’t offer the same sense of community that forums did, he mourns.


News from UMSI

If you’re curious about some less-familiar websites that have been in the news lately, UMSI Associate Professor Libby Hemphill explains the history and sudden prominence of the social media platforms MeWe and Parler. Read more.


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