A revised playlist for comps revisions

Written by: Spencer Greenhalgh

Primary Source:  Spencer Greenhalgh

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about some of the music that I was listening to so that I could stay focused while doing my comprehensive exams. Today, I’m finishing up revisions to one of those questions, and I thought I’d highlight some of the other sounds that I use to block out the world and concentrate on reading, ‘riting, and researching. I use the word “sounds” intentionally: There are times when not listening to anything is distracting but listening to music is also distracting. Over the years, I’ve discovered some fun equivalents to white noise that keep me in the zone.  

I’m not sure how I discovered this, but AtraverslaSuisse (across Switzerland) is the channel of an employee of the Swiss Federal Railways who sometimes sticks a GoPro in the cabin of his train and posts the results to YouTube. I find the sounds soothing, and if I can stick it on a second monitor, I can even take a look up from my writing every once in a while and pretend that I’m on my way through the Swiss countryside (instead of stuck in the library).  

Numbers stations are a really fascinating, kind of creepy phenomenon. In short, they are anonymous shortwave radio broadcasts that repeat numbers, words, phrases, and clips of music and are held to be coded messages to spies embedded in a foreign country. The Conet Project is dedicated to recording and preserving numbers station broadcasts, and I picked up an “audiobook” of four hours of numbers station recordings several years ago. It’s just enough to keep my mind occupied, and I sometimes get to pretend like I’m a deep cover CIA agent instead of a grad student.

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Hi there! My name is Spencer Greenhalgh, and I am a student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology doctoral program at Michigan State University. I came to Michigan State University with a strong belief in the importance of an education grounded in the humanities. As an undergraduate, I studied French and political science and worked as a teaching assistant in both fields. After graduation, I taught French, debate, and keyboarding in a Utah private school before coming to MSU, where I plan to study how technology can be used to help students connect the humanities with their lives. I have a particular interest in the use of games and simulations to promote ethical reasoning and explore moral dilemmas, but am eager to study any technology that can help students see the relevance of studying language, culture, history, and government.