Skip to main content

University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 5/1/21: Creamy or crunchy?

Lucky charms

In Taiwan, bright green bags of coconut-flavored corn crisps are tucked around vital pieces of technology, from cash machines and mainframes to ventilators. According to popular belief, they keep the machines running smoothly. For the charms to work, though, the bags must be unopened and replaced when they reach their expiration date. Thanks to the BBC for this tech tip

Hi ho, Kermit the Frog here

In March, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden interviewed Kermit the Frog on video to mark his inclusion in the library’s National Recording Registry Class of 2020. Kermit was honored for his recording of “Rainbow Connection,” which opened the first Muppet movie. All 25 recordings chosen for the 2020 Registry are listed here.

A challenging read

It’s that time again, time for the ALA to release its list of the most challenged books of 2020. Some old friends are back, including To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men, while George by Alex Gino retains its first-place status for the third year in a row. The full list since 2001 makes for provocative reading. 

Help for the homeless

Good Samaritan Ashley Sundquist was chatting with a homeless man outside her local library and learned he had no idea how to find available resources. As a Google Maps Local Guide, Sundquist had a solution: create a Google Maps list of homeless shelters. She went on to create maps for free food, free showers, free Wi-Fi and many more resources for people experiencing homelessness. Her idea has inspired similar maps in other cities, Mashable says.

A run for the money

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have been in the news quite a bit lately, as investors purchase shares in art, sports memorabilia and music. Sports business website Sportico reports that in 2019, an Australian company started selling digital racehorses via NFT technology for $30 a head. These horses race, get traded and even get bred. One sold recently for $125,000. Now, that’s a lot of hay. 

Fair use decision

A recent Supreme Court decision provided some relief for the tech industry when it decided in Google vs. Oracle America that copying someone else’s computer code is okay in some instances. NYTimes tech writer Shirva Ovide explains why the decision may also impact writers, artists and archivists. 

Sometimes you feel like a nut

For National Peanut Butter Lovers Day (which for some of us is every day), Jif commissioned a poll to learn more about the personalities of creamy lovers vs crunchy lovers. Study Finds reports that incompatible tastes were considered relationship deal-breakers in nearly half the respondents. So, a good question for that first date.

Like it or not

When a friend’s post gets lots of likes and you don’t get as many, do you feel kind of inadequate? USAToday notes that in an effort to reduce “social comparison,” Facebook and Instagram are now testing an option that will let you choose whether to see your own or other people’s likes. Influencers are thumbs down on this idea. 

We’re doomed

Google Earth now has a 3-D time-lapse feature that allows you to watch humans destroy the planet. Just kidding. Though Google is pitching Timelapse as a teaching tool for climate change. An ArsTechnica article explains how to access the feature, which tracks changes in landscape and cityscapes over the past 37 years all around the world and makes for some dramatic viewing.

Try before you dye

Amazon announced the opening of another brick-and-mortar store, Amazon’s first hair salon. Located in east London and equipped with AR tablets embedded in mirrors, the salon lets customers try on virtual hair styles, hair colors and cosmetics and purchase products via QR codes that link to the Amazon site. We assume the stylists are still real, at least for now. 

D-I-Y QR codes

QR codes are enjoying something of a revival due to COVID and our reluctance to touch anything other than our phones. For those who might need to create a QR code, TechRepublic offers five ways to generate your own contactless access to web pages and other information.