& BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-12-31 Fr
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First: High Patriarchy
Tian Chen Zeng, Alan J. Aw, & Marcus W. Feldman: Cultural Hitchhiking & Competition Between Patrilineal Kin Groups Explain the Post-Neolithic Y-Chromosome Bottleneck <https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04375-6.pdf>; M. Karmin & al. (2015): A Recent Bottleneck of Y Chromosome Diversity Coincides with a Global Change In Culture (Genome Res. 25, 459–466) <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25770088/>:
All of us (men) have y-chromosomes that are those of Y-Chromosome Adam back roughly some 200,000 years ago, with whatever mutations of that have occurred since. Looking at the ensemble of y-chromosomes allows us to construct a tree by virtue of which y-chromosomes differ by one base pair, which by two, and so on. The amount of branching at each calculated date in the past tells us what the effective population size (of men) was then, for each y-sperm that fertilizes an egg is another chance for mutations to occur.
Similarly, all of us have mitochondria that are those of Mitochondrial Eve, back some back roughly some 200,000 years ago, with whatever mutations of that have occurred since. Looking at the ensemble of mitochondria allows us to construct a tree by virtue of which mitochondria differ by one base pair, which by two, and so on. The amount of branching at each calculated date in the past tells us what the effective population size (of men) was then, for each fertilized egg is another chance for mitochondrial mutations to occur.
Note that between out-of-Africa and the coming of agriculture—between 50 and 10 thousand years ago—the effective male population size was 30,000 at the start and 60,000 at the end of that late-Mesolithic Age: 30,000 and 60,000 of the men alive back then have living descendants today. By contrast, the effective female population size was more like 100,000 50 thousand years ago and more like 450,000 10 thousand years ago.
But then, with the invention of agriculture, things go bonkers. Mitochondrial lines continue to multiply at a furious pace as mutations happen. Y-chromosome lines… sharply slow down in their multiplication, as the men’s side of the effective population crashes. At the trough, 5 thousand years ago, the men who have living descendants today amount to only 1/20 as large a fraction as the fraction of women alive then who have living descendants today.
This would seem to mean that -8000 to 1 saw substantial polygyny for a few men, and non-reproduction for others. It also means the inheritance of male reproductive advantage: that if your great-grandfather had the resources to have more than one wife, the odds were higher that you were at the top of the inequality pyramid and had the resources to have more than one wife as well. Patriarchal reproductive inequality was in that age both substantial and inherited.
This is polygyny: one man, many wives—and lots of men with no wives and little sexual access to women. This is the Biblical Patriarch Jacob: 13 children with two wives and two concubines. Jacob and Leah's children were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dina; Jacob and Rachel's children were Joseph and Benjamin; Jacob and Zilpah's children were Gad and Asher, and Jacob and Bilhah's children were Dan and Naphtali. And somewhere in the neighborhood there were three men—unnamed, possibly dead—who were without wives, and without children.
Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah's mitochondrial DNA lineages were passed down. The three nameless men's y-chromosome lineages were not: only Jacob's was.
Maintaining polygyny for a number of generations requires great social pressure and great societal inequality among men. It also requires a great deal of subservience among women. Back then, women were, to a substantial degree, property: the property of their fathers, and then of those in the patriarchal polygynous network who gained control over them. And back then, a great many men were without resources‚ for the overwhelming majority of men would, if they had resources to deploy to attain any form of social power, would have chosen to use those resources to marry. And yet many of them could not do so. How much social power had to be deployed against them, and in what form, to enforce their non-marrying?
This age of super-patriarchy stands out in our genetic record. The social structures and institutions to support it are not there before -8000 and do not persist since the year 1.
What was human life and human inequality like back in this patriarchal age? What brought it on? What made it come to an end?
And what was life like for women in those years—because making women share husbands is something that requires a lot of social power deployed and exerted to enforce?
Flashmob Nürnberg 2014: Ode an die Freude <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a23945btJYw>:
Very Briefly Noted:
David Wickert & Greg Bluestein: Inside the Campaign to Undermine Georgia’s Election<https://www.ajc.com/politics/election/georgia-2020-election-what-happened/>
Tian Chen Zeng, Alan J. Aw, & Marcus W. Feldman: Cultural Hitchhiking & Competition Between Patrilineal Kin Groups Explain the Post-Neolithic Y-Chromosome Bottleneck: ‘Our hypothesis is consistent with current… archaeogenetics… and is important for conceptions of cultural and social evolution in prehistory… <https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04375-6.pdf>
Yasemin Saplakoglu (2018): Why Do Genes Suggest Most Men Died Off 7,000 Years Ago?: ‘Warfare between patrilineal clans could have caused this so-called “Y chromosome bottleneck”…. The researchers did “careful computer simulations, whereas the previous papers had not,” said Chris Tyler-Smith… <https://www.livescience.com/62754-warring-clans-caused-population-bottleneck.html>
TV Tropes: Filibuster Freefall: ‘The phenomenon was first noted by author James Nicoll on the rec.arts.sf newsgroup and dubbed “The Brain Eater” (not to be confused with the trope about eating brains) in relation to authors Poul Anderson and James P. Hogan… <https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FilibusterFreefall>
Jared Diamond (1999): The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race: ‘The advent of agriculture… a watershed moment…. It may also have been our greatest blunder… <https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race>
Priya Anand: Tech’s Return to Office Plans Get Pushed Back En Masse<https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2021-08-09/tech-s-return-to-office-plans-get-pushed-back-en-masse?cmpid=BBD122921_TECH>
Zachary D. Carter: I Thought I Knew Harry Reid. I Was Wrong: ‘The pol I once scoffed at for embodying the worst of American politics turned out to be one of the most morally effective leaders the Democratic Party has ever seen… <https://www.politico.com/amp/news/magazine/2021/12/30/harry-reid-democratic-party-leader-526259>
Addison Del Mastro: New and Old #3: ‘“The Single-Staircase Radicals Have a Good Point”… Henry Grabar…
Ian Cuttress: CPU Year In Review 2021: Efficient Cores Are The New Bling: ‘Back in the world of desktop silicon, Intel launched its 12th Generation Alder Lake processors in November, marking the first time in a long while that Intel has launched two generations in the same year… Intel 7 process node (renamed from 10ESF)… performance cores and efficiency cores…. This requires strong collaboration with Microsoft… as this hybrid design is tightly coupled to the operating system…. Intel has only launched the high-performance parts so far, the i9-K, i7-K, and i5-K, with the rest to come…. Alder Lake was seen as a win for new Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, offering key performance in more realistic scenarios than AMD, at a similar or better price point…. The big excitement is going to come when Intel showcases the rest of the Alder Lake family in the New Year… L
Debby Wu: How Chip Shortages Helped Define 2021: ‘In 2021, users of everything from iPhones and PlayStations to cars and ultrasound machines were jolted awake to a new reality: All these things need silicon chips, and there aren’t enough of them…. Why can’t suppliers just make more?… Silicon manufacturing is a time-consuming and expensive venture. Building a chip fabrication plant takes at least two to three years and can easily cost $10 billion or more…. “Real men have fabs,” Advanced Micro Devices Inc. founder Jerry Sanders once famously said. He was talking about companies, but this year, world leaders got the memo too…
Tim Snyder: USSR 1922–1991, USA 1776–2025?: ‘the West won the cold war: a combination of elections, markets, the welfare state, and labor unions that allowed social mobility and a sense of the future…. Since the 1980s… throwing away most of our advantages… weakening a system that once looked formidable and attractive. It would be best to notice this while we still have some time to do something about it…. We should not be congratulating ourselves. We should be asking ourselves what we have done wrong these last thirty years, and thinking about how to end our own stagnation. We should be preparing for the crisis looming in 2025…
Manu Saadia: ’It’s like their lives are a perpetual persecution. All the while they have no public healthcare nor public education to speak of, and they’re grifted upon by unctuous pastors and right-wing extremists—who line their pockets with the fear they stoke. I don’t understand this country and when I read stuff like this I realize that the only benefit in understanding America is to avoid getting killed by all these fascist yahoos. Amazing that these goons are still aggrieved that people scorn them for voting for that degenerate. And that’s after the failed coup attempt…
Adam Gurri: No Solutions: ‘It does not take much for technologists to become technocrats. When you work chiefly in a domain which has expanded humanity’s capabilities in a palpably measurable way in your lifetime, it becomes very easy to think nearly all of life’s problems can be solved by adopting a similar stance…
Nicole Barbaro: The Black Men of Harvard ‘63: ‘Back in Kent Garrett’s day, thought, the Harvard class of 1963 had just 1.5% Black men… enrolling 18…. In The Last Negroes at Harvard: The Class of 1963 and the Eighteen Young Men Who Changed Harvard Forever, Kent Garrett and Jeanne Ellsworth recount Garrett’s years as a Harvard undergraduate…. What stood out to me about the racial politics of the day as described and experienced by Garrett, were some of the striking similarities to current racial debates…
Matthew Yglesias: Human History in the Very Long Run: ‘It’s mostly pretty bad…. Our species is about 300,000 years old, and farming and towns started about 12,000 years ago. The vast majority of the history of human technology unfolded before the existence of our species, and the vast majority of our species’ existence was prior to permanent settlements…. It was really only starting 200 or 300 years ago that we see any kind of sustained upward momentum in living standards…. The neolithic revolution—when people turned to agriculture—was also a big deal. The problem is that, as Jared Diamond and now many other scholars seem to agree, agriculture made living standards lower rather than higher…. What’s nuts to me, though, is that this whole agricultural era is just so damn short in the context of human history…. The good news is that by having a settled lifestyle, you can accumulate possessions. The bad news is all your stuff can be stolen…. T the creation of a surplus-extracting exploiter class…. The industrial revolution in the North Atlantic world and then the spread of prosperity due to decolonization and globalization after 1960 or so are basically the best things that ever happened…
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