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University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 3/1/2021: Ready Porker One

March Mammal Madness

March Madness teams may not be equally matched, but at least the players are all human. In the tooth-and-claw natural world, how would a Kinda baboon fare against an Egyptian fruit bat? That’s one pairing an Arizona State prof dreamed up for March Mammal Madness, an annual science education event, recounts Scientific American. The MMM tournament includes brackets that funnel 64 species in imaginary combat down to the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Trait and Final Roar. Follow the Madness on Twitter all this month.

Strength in numbers

The Big Ten isn’t confined to athletics; now the libraries of the BIG universities are getting into the action with an academic alliance to manage the 15 institutions’ separate library collections as a single entity, according to Library Journal. The BIG Collection could be the future of collections, the alliance declares.

Pay to play

Speaking of mortal combat, the Australian government just passed a new law to force internet giants like Google and Facebook to pay news publishers for the content that they use in their news feeds. Big tech has fought back, including cutting off all news feeds for five days (Facebook) and threatening to pull its search product out of the country (Google). CNET has a good account of the back-and-forth negotiations which may have repercussions way beyond Down Under.

A clean getaway

Truly driverless cars are still a rarity, but in one part of China it’s now possible to hire a driverless taxi. Naturally, it’s in Shenzhen in China’s tech valley. This Endgadget article offers a 10-minute look into the future with a video of a trip characterized by “safety, hygiene and privacy” – not words we normally associate with cab rides.  

TV Guide for streaming video

Searching for a favorite TV series, doc or movie among the scores of cable channels and streaming services out there? NY Times OnTech writer Shira Ovide has found a key to the labyrinth, the website JustWatch. In addition to a simple search feature, its options include expressive categories like “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why” and “Women have superior taste, that’s why these masterpieces are called chick flicks.” Right up our alley.

Don’t take cookies from strangers

Here’s something you might have wondered: What happens if you decline cookies on a website? Techwalla has the answer, explaining the three “flavors” of cookies, what you’re missing if you don’t accept them, and when you should definitely say no. 

Ready Porker One

They’ve got a long way to go to be esports-competitive, but some Pennsylvania pigs have learned to play a rudimentary video game moving joysticks with their snouts. Apes do it better, but considering pigs are far-sighted and have no opposable thumbs, Penn State researchers say it’s pretty remarkable. BBC News rooted out this tale.


Gig work preceded the pandemic, but the pandemic has shown many that it’s feasible to work a side-gig from home. Gig workers looking for jobs and employers seeking temp help will have a new resource once LinkedIn launches its Marketplaces feature. The two-way service will focus on knowledge work that can be done online, says AIMGroup.

Yes, she can

How does a teenaged computer engineering student in Gaza, Palestine, score not one but two internship offers from Silicon Valley companies? “Gazan girl” Dalia Awad shares her inspiring story on her blog in hopes “it will help people in any way.”

The face is familiar

The Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover is a legendary collage of 58 famous faces. One fan set out on a mission to track down the original source photos for every celebrity and artifact pictured with the Fab Four, from Bob Dylan to Dylan Thomas. Chris Shaw’s WordPress site features the original photos and a short text that IDs the figures. Bonus question: Which portrait also appears in an iconic Ann Arbor mural?

Filing for free gets E-Zer

If you haven’t filed your 2020 federal income tax yet, PC World has a nice guide on how to file your taxes for free. Thanks to ProPublica activism in 2019, many online for-profit tax prep sites have made their 2020 free services more visible to search engines and easier to distinguish from their paid services. Yes, that does imply that last year, obfuscation was common. Go figure.

News from UMSI:

UMSI master’s student and Joyce Bonk Fellow Samantha Hill (MSI ’21) curated a virtual photography exhibit that examines African Americans in literature, studio portraits and community groups. “Framing Identity: Representations of Empowerment and Resilience in the Black Experience” can be viewed on the U-M Clements Library website.