Guided Apophenia

Guided Apophenia
Digitally Lit #268 – 11/14/2020

Welcome back to Digitally Literate. Dear Frog, This Water Is Now Boiling

This week I worked on the following:

  • Are you busy or productive? – Busy work, or busy time is unproductive.
  • Begin Owning Your Online Content – If you want to begin owning your content online, you need to start thinking differently about content, audience, and identity.
  • Becoming Self-Actualized – Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Are you making that your reality?
  • Speak To An Audience – As we create, it’s important to identify and speak to a specific audience.
  • Hell Yeah…or No – A simple philosophy that goes like this: when you are asked to do something, anything, with your time, it needs to be a ‘hell yes’ or a ‘no’.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and say hey at


This $130 Video Desk Setup Rocks!

I’ve been methodically building a home streaming set up for my online classes, and any attempt to do more video work.

This latest video is an update to this video from DSLR Video Shooter.

These two videos have been helpful as I continue to think about how to build up a space for video connections.


Your Computer Isn’t Yours

Apple announced an update to Mac OS this week. Mac OS X is dead…welcome to macOS 11.0 Big Sur.

Jeffrey Paul indicates that in the current version of the macOS, the OS sends to Apple a hash (unique identifier) of each and every program you run when you run it.

This means that Apple knows when you’re at home. When you’re at work. What apps you open there, and how often. They know when you open Premiere over at a friend’s house on their Wi-Fi, and they know when you open Tor Browser in a hotel on a trip to another city.

The day that Stallman and Doctorow have been warning us about has finally arrived.

Misinformation by a thousand cuts: Varied rigged election claims circulate

A dizzying array of false claims and conspiracy theories have dominated social and ultraconservative media since the early morning after Election Day.

We often discuss the intersections of mis/disinformation and social networking spaces. We’ve also the role that Facebook has played in swaying how the worldview of millions.

Facebook has talked a big game about monitoring election misinformation. But, when Steve Bannon was outed this week for his involvement in running a network of misinformation pages on Facebook, Zuckerberg strangely indicated that this did not cross the line.

At this point we need to assume that Facebook’s moderation policies are more or less arbitrary, or completely borked. In addition, we must assume at this point that Facebook, or at least Zuckerberg and shareholders value the attention, protection, and $$$$$ that is brought on by conservative and dark donors.

In the end, it may not even matter as conservatives tend to see expert evidence & personal experience as more equally legitimate than scientific perspectives.

A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon

We’ve talked about QAnon many times in this newsletter. In a previous episode, I asked how QAnon is similar/different from other affinity groups like Harry Potter fans and Trekkies.

Reed Berkowitz, director of the Curiouser Institute has experience developing games and indicates the commonalities between the two.

QAnon has often been compared to ARGs and LARPs and rightly so. It uses many of the same gaming mechanisms and rewards. It has a game-like feel to it that is evident to anyone who has ever played an ARG, online role-play (RP) or LARP before. The similarities are so striking that it has often been referred to as a LARP or ARG. However, this beast is very very different from a game.

Berkowitz labels this a guided apophenia. Apophenia is : “the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas)”

“Other countries have social safety nets. The U.S. has women.”

As part of the Culture Study newsletter, Anne Helen Petersen interviews Jess Calarco about her recent research on mothers grappling with parenting, partners, anxiety, work, and feelings of failure during the pandemic.

While on this subject, check out the two recent preprints in her work in sociology and “ungaslighting.”

Teaching Should Be Political

Clint Smith on how to talk about race in the classroom.

…the crucial work of educators is to fortify their students, joining them in the quest to make the society into which they were born fully account for the conditions it has created.


How to Navigate Difficult Conversations

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We can’t avoid difficult conversations altogether, but we can navigate them more adeptly by learning to listen and communicate mindfully.



The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.

Chögyam Trungpa

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