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Fun Size for 8/13/19: Poker bot knows when to hold 'em

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].

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Mourn from anywhere
Though slightly oxymoronic, some funeral homes now provide live-streamed funerals so distant family and friends can attend the service, according to One wrinkle: recorded music played during the funeral is often copyrighted, requiring a streaming music fee. Good thing "Amazing Grace" is in the public domain.

Decisions, decisions
Chicken or pasta? Honda or Toyota? Just can't decide? offers several apps to help you make the right choice. You can list the pros and cons, poll your friends, spin a wheel or let strangers decide. Oh darn, which one to pick? 

Best bets for an online finish
Hundreds of thousands of people start low-cost online courses and then drop out after a few sessions. Business Insider polled the online educational platform Coursera to find which popular online courses had the highest completion rates. Bragging point: UMSI's "Dr. Chuck" Severance's Python course ranked in the top 13, as did a U-M course on negotiation skills. 

No more John/Jane Doe
Don't worry, they say. Sure, we're collecting your data, but it's anonymized. This MIT Technology Review article provides a quick way to check and see just how anonymous you are, based on a few questions: DOB, zipcode and gender. On average, with those three items, you can be correctly identified 81% of the time. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, take 30 seconds to find your own score. 

Find that folder
A common complaint, at least around here, is that it's really hard to find something stored in Google Drive. has seven simple steps for getting your Google Drive files organized. Try a few and see if it helps you overcome Drive's wretched search function.

Longer waits for best-sellers
Publishing is a tough business, but why take it out on library patrons? It's all about the cash, with e-book loans cutting into book sales. Publishing giant Macmillan has just announced it will sell only one e-book version of a new book to libraries for the first 8 weeks after its release. After that, they can buy more copies to lend. Understandably, the ALA is not pleased.

Library love by the numbers
E-books' soaring popularity is borne out by a recent report from the Institute of Museum and Library Services on public library use. In 2016, over 391 million e-books were available to library patrons, who visited their local libraries over 1.35 billion times that year. Library data nerds will enjoy a link to a nifty databasethat allows you to search and compare your library with others in the U.S. 

No poker face here
Facebook and Carnegie Mellon have collaborated to build Pluribus, a poker-playing AI bot that is wiping the floor with world-class professional players. "I would not want to play in a game of poker where this bot was at the table," said one pro in this Online Poker Report story. 

News from UMSI: 

Reliability Report: The Center for Social Media Responsibility at UMSI created the "Iffy Quotient," which measures the percentage of the most popular news on social media platforms that come from "iffy" sties. Questionable content on Facebook has dropped significantly since last October, while Twitter is doing only slightly better. Read more.