Ruthie argues that US music education could be hugely improved by de-emphasizing performance and large ensembles. Despite being a happy member of 60+-person choirs for almost a decade, I wholeheartedly endorse this. Classical training for large-ensemble performance is boring as hell compared to all the stuff you can do if you prioritize having fun over sounding perfect.
David Chapman writes an interesting breakdown of the social dynamics of subcultures. Potentially relevant to movement-building (of effective altruism or anywhere else).
Cross Validated has a list of common statistical sins. If you’re going to interpret statistics, you should probably read them and be aware of them.
Frederik de Boer calls out the eternal Internet discussion problem:
I just don’t think the online world is set up for stuff like this to be useful anymore. It’s not like I’ve ever mistaken my blogging for Doing Something. I’m not that naive. It’s just that I can’t fulfill the basic function of “the world’s messed up and here’s why and what do you think about that?” I like arguing and always have, but I like arguing about what I’m actually saying, and right now you spend tons more time insisting that you aren’t saying what others claim you are, and that’s just no fun and no good for anybody. I hear this basic complaint from all kinds of writers I know.
This might sound like another of my complaints about left-wing communicative practice, but it isn’t; this is a non-ideological phenomenon. I try never to look back on the good old days (mostly because they weren’t that good) but as someone who’s done this for too long, I’m not afraid to say that things have never been less charitable out there. I don’t mean that in the sense of people having sympathy for your actual argument, but in the sense of people just trying to understand what your argument is in the first place. My default assumption now is that many people will look for the most unflattering, damning reading of anything I write, so I write everything as this tedious lockbox of doubling back and self-protective asides and constant explicit statements of what I’m not saying. It’s just so ugly, aesthetically, stylistically. But the alternative is being harangued for days about a position I don’t hold. Not worth it anymore.