Saturday Links 24-Feb-2018 (part 1). Cheddar Man, YIMBY housing, musical puberty, Alto’s Odyssey

Note: I’m doing two Saturday link posts today, part 1 and part 2. Why? I missed last week Feb 17 due to bronchitis. Which was bad, but I’m fine now a week later. So with two weeks worth of links/commentary, I decided to split the links into two separate posts.

1. Cheddar man. The BBC’s Channel 4 TV headline their coverage with the below rendition of the 10,000 year old Briton with blue eyes and dark skin.

cheddar man
Cheddar Man rendered by Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions © Tom Barnes/Channel 4

The preprint is titled Population Replacement in Early Neolithic Britain. And doesn’t focus on the individual Cheddar Man quite so much. Why? Because we already knew the original hunter gathers in Europe were darker skinned and blue eyed. In fact, as Razib Khan points out, we should be cautious on the confidence on how dark skinned Cheddar Man really was. Probably brown, but less clear on how dark brown. The genomic tests we use today predict based on populations from today, and Cheddar Man doesn’t have a modern phenotype to be certain. The preprint’s larger news is confirmation that the 10k year old Cheddar Man likely left no descendants in modern populations. What happened was the original hunter gatherers in Briton (known as Western Hunter Gathers WHG) were replaced in Briton 6000 years ago by Early European Farmers (or EEF). In turn, the EEF were replaced by 4500 years ago by the Bell Beaker culture, which flowed into Central Europe via the steppe, and ultimately are associated with Indo-European languages. So a double and nearly complete replacement since Cheddar Man’s day. In practice this means modern British people are genetically closer to south asians than to Cheddar Man! So calling Cheddar Man the first Briton is geographically correct, but implies something incorrect. That some of today’s Britons are his descendants. See Razib Khan’s post.

2. SB 827 is a new Califoria bill requiring higher density zoning near mass transit. The Yes In My Backyard YIMBY movement believes expensive housing is caused by land use restrictions. And they characterize their opponents as Not In My Backyard, or NIMBY. I’m firmly team YIMBY. Housing restriction laws strike me as an obvious case of rich people of privilege trying to lock the poor out of the best places in the country to live. Vox has an explainer and interview on SB 827 which hits the basic points. If SB 827 passes it’ll be excellent.

3. Musical puberty. How old were you when you’re favorite song came out? Statistically 13-16 for men and 11-14 for women. Quote: “The key years, in fact, match closely with the end of puberty, which tends to happen to girls before boys.” Link to article by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. Note that this is a distribution with a mean and variation! Some replies on twitter showed people were locked on to the mean 14 year old male age number, not realizing the variance implied directly in the chart below. Oh well.

music peak

4. Scott Alexander has a 6200 word overview on technological unemployment. No strong conclusions (which I view as a plus), with lots of good charts and cites. Original post, plus also his follow post as well. By the way, I took a crack at this a few years back, and my similar (much shorter!) post is not as deep but I think holds up ok: Since cars replaced horses, won’t robots replace people?

5. Alto’s Odyssey. I’ve got a soft spot for endless runner games. Especially ones with a zen vibe, letting you can kill a few minutes while waiting in line. Alto’s Odyssey is the sequel to Alto’s Adventure, and I think it’s nearly perfect at what it tries to be. Link.alto

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