Helena Miton

What it took for break-up songs to become cultural items

Gloria Gaynor singing I will survive

Some of the skills you develop as a PhD student were not on the program. Now two years into my PhD, I realize that I have become much better at composing nice playlists, and in particular break-up songs playlists. Admittedly, this is not what I thought I’d get good at, but, well, it still counts as a skill or knowledge of some sort, and I enjoy my newly-won status of information-provider. After years been given advice about music by others, ending up in the position of the adviser feels like an achievement....

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Why would Japanese spirits haunt toilets and ghosts hitchhike? [Halloween special]

  After getting lost in the meanders of the Internet—well, to be fair, of Wikipedia— a grayish Sunday morning, I ended up in the Urban legends section, and may have found some ‘blogpost’ material. That’s for you to judge, here’s my Halloween special!   Several ...

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Cow-tipping, and the strange performativity of ‘scientific studies’ – and cultural transmission

One of my all-time favorite scientific papers is the ‘Academic Urban Legends’ by Ole Bjorn Rekdal, published 2014 in the journal Social Studies of Science. Very briefly, the author goes through the story of ‘spinach containing (a lot of) iron’, and, even more interestingly, of its correct...

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‘Big Gods’ book club #4: Alternative explanations?

- atheists flout a “precautionary principle” (considering that  supernatural punishment is possible). -atheists are less risk-averse than others (given the possibility of a supernatural punishment, an atheist still chooses to behave as if there was no hell) - atheists have a bad perception ...

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