So, I figured I need somewhere to dump stuff that I write or fiddle about with, rather than just littering various hard drives. As a way of getting them off my mind perhaps, or to invite discussion. Maybe something could even be of use or interest to someone, but that remains to be seen.

The name of the blog, Backbone of Night, will surely be familiar to some. It is a chapter from Carl Sagan’s legendary book Cosmos (and additionally, of course, an episode from the show) discussing ancient cosmologies and humanity’s perpetual obsession with making sense of the universe. The backbone of night refers to the milky way stretching over the sky – a picture I’ve always found profoundly beautiful and inspiring. As somewhat of a night owl myself, having my most productive hours after sunset, I figured I’d borrow the metaphor. This blog, if you will, can hopefully once in a while serve as my nights’ backbone.

As the little “about”-thingy says, I’m currently doing my PhD in political science at the Department of Government, Uppsala university. Study wise, apart from political science, I also have a background in economics and public health. Though my dissertation is about designing vaccination policy, my research interests are quite broad and eclectic: the unifying theme seems to be centered around the nature of human social motivation – where does altruism come from, how do prosocial motivations clash with self-interest and in-group bias, and how do such tendencies drive behavior in social systems ranging from micro level interpersonal relations to politics? I also have a firm commitment to scientific skepticism and methodological rigor in investigating these questions.

My posts here will likely be quite sporadic, and will touch on things I think about in my research, both substantive and methodological, broader questions in science and philosophy, and occasionally, if luck has it, things of a less serious nature.

See you around the next corner!

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