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Fun Size for 9/4/19: What your mobile number reveals about you

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.

Six tricks for better searches

You might think you’re an expert Googler, but there might be a few tricks you don’t know. For example, did you know you can search by timeframe or only specific sites? Now you can easily find that Epicurious recipe for clam dip you saw six months ago.  The New York Times’s Whitson Gordon shares six great tips to make your searches more productive. 

The heart of the community

Overlook a bit of self-promotion on Google’s part to enjoy three librarians expressing the benefits that their small-town public libraries provide their communities in this two-minute video, rated H for Heart-warming. 

Walk the walk, talk the talk 

The best place to learn a language is where it’s spoken. Second best:  Students at Rensselaer Polytechnic in Troy, NY are learning Mandarin in an AI/VR classroom. Learners engage in realistic settings, bargaining with street vendors and ordering food in a virtual restaurant. An algorithm provides visual feedback on their tonal pronunciation.

Sorry, wrong number

Not to freak you out, but the next time someone asks for your phone number, you might want to think twice. For an article, NY Times Personal Technology writer Brian Chen gave his cellphone number to a security researcher and was shaken to find “it took only an hour to expose my life.”

Stop the car, I’m going to be sick!

Prophylactic action: TechCrunch covers research being conducted at the University of Michigan’s Mcity to prevent passengers with motion sickness from losing their lunch in autonomous vehicles. (The video may induce a little kinetosis on its own.)

Hometown celebrities

Pudding.cool has  a rabbit hole for you, – an interactive map of the U.S. where cities are identified by their most Wikipedia’ed resident. Like Wyatt Earp (Pella, IA), Mark Ruffalo (Kenosha, WI) and Laura Ingalls Wilder (Pepin, MN). Ooh! And Neil Gaiman and Jeffrey Dahmer and Taylor Swift and … you get the idea. (There’s also a U.K. version.)

Visualize this

Data doesn’t have to be dull. Check out this collection of the best of the web infographics and visualizations for June, compliments of VisualizingData.com. Billboard’s Top 5 through the decades, white supremacy in art museums and counting crowds in Hong Kong are among the topics getting a visual treatment.  

The case of the missing school librarians

Where have all the school librarians gone? This Chalkbeat article wonders why, in light of Michigan’s tumbling reading scores, school districts have dispensed with librarians. It also includes a searchable report on the number of librarians per school in the state. Sadly, it seems it’s possible to have 0.05 of a librarian. Barely better than none.

Cyber Cyrano de Bergerac

AI as matchmaker: MIT Technology Review profiles a new Denver-based startup that does more than match clients with prospective partners. The online dating service coaches them through the first phone call and the first date, and even consoles them when “she’s just not that into you.” Wait, isn’t that what BFFs are for?

News from UMSI:

The Ann Arbor Eight: Eight new assistant professors will join the faculty at UMSI this fall, as well as a new lecturer and a Presidential Post-doctoral Fellow. Read more.