1) Ellenberg states that the dead fish whose brain was scanned should call our attention “to the way we draw our thresholds between a real phenomenon and random static…in this era of massive data sets, effortlessly obtained.” (p. 103) With this example in mind, read the summary articles about navigating published in The Drive () and University College London () in 2017 as well as the full article published in Nature Communication () in 2017. To what extent are you persuaded that this study is examining a real phenomenon as opposed to random static? (Answer: 75 words)

2) Ellenberg summarizes Bayes theorem as “a form of numerically flavored advice. It gives us a rule, which we may choose to follow or not, for how we should update our beliefs about things in the light of new observations.” (p. 181) To what extent is predicting the outcome of an election guided by this rule that beliefs should be updated in the light of new observations? What are the most important observations that can shape predictions of elections – and to what extent are these observations more or less likely to produce correct outcomes? (Answer: 75 words)

3) Review Ellenberg’s discussion of causation and correlation, beginning on p. 335, and leading up to this statement: “There’s something slippery about our understanding of correlation and causation…Teasing apart correlations that come from causal relationships from those that don’t is a maddeningly hard problem, even in cases you might think as obvious, like the relation between smoking and lung cancer.” (pp. 349-350) How does Ellenberg’s analysis of causation and correlation guide the way you think about the data on affordable housing and school quality presented in the October 30, 2019 post from the Cooper Center, available and below. Is the relationship between affordable housing and school quality more correlation, causation, some of each, or mostly neither? (Answer: 75 words)

4) In 1984, Winston Smith declares: “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.”

To what extent is this statement relevant to the ways that you think about living in a context shaped by data and surveillance? (Answer: 75 words)